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Mental Health Act

(30 Posts)
Anniebach Mon 08-May-17 09:03:01

The government is too scrap the mental health act.

Mentally ill people are being kept in police cells. Whilst most people killed by police had mental illness and no officer has ever been charged it sounds a good idea to change the police powers to lock up mentally ill people


if a person is a danger to themselves and to others where will they be taken to?
No beds in hospitals , fewer physciatric units . Is the ill person to be free to harm themselves or others?

travelsafar Mon 08-May-17 09:08:06

I feel this goes back to 2003 when 'care in the community' was first introduced. Many units for the mentally ill were closed with the patients being supported outside in the community with support workers. Sadly times have changed due to cuts to social services and support workers were not always replaced at the point of retirement, leaving the job etc. in effect to try and save money. Now we have a massive problem on our hands and these poor souls are left to fend for them selves with minimal support.

Iam64 Mon 08-May-17 09:21:45

I don't know what changes to the existing legislation are to be made. I do know that the police has become the only emergency service for many people with mental health issues.
This is in part due to cuts to mental health services, including those who supported people with dependence on drugs and alcohol.
I suspect one issue is the beat bobbies are expected to deal with everything that comes in during their shift. It can be difficult to differentiate between a psychotic episode and someone who has been using drugs.
My experience over 35 years of working closely with the police was that generally, officers are skilled at reducing aggression. They are not trained in mental health in the way that psychiatric social workers or mental health staff specialising in mental health are. In the absence of other professionals with the necessary theoretical knowledge, they do the best they can.
At the risk of sounding like a record on repeat - central government needs to invest more in these services, not cut them to the bone and expect miracles to happen.

Anniebach Mon 08-May-17 09:50:47

This has really got me worried . I think thry are scrapping the present act and brining in a new one regarding ill people being locked in cells . Great if there emergency units to take ill people to but will they fund these?

I am not attacking the police , I fear this is yet another wild scheme to win votes and I realy am fearful

daphnedill Mon 08-May-17 10:04:04

I listened to Jeremy Hunt talking about this and came to the conclusion that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

He talked about stopping people being locked up in police cells unnecessarily, but not about where they're going to go. Approximately 6,700 mental health nurse jobs have been cut from the NHS since 2010. Replacing them now will cost money, take time and only get us back to 2010.

One of my sisters did her RMN training (after SRN) at Rainhill Hospital. Anybody who comes from the North West has probably heard of it. At one time, it was the biggest mental hospital in Europe with over 2000 patients. We don't want to go back to those times. Some of the patients had been in there most of their lives, some because they had committed the "sin" of becoming single mothers.

The trouble is that when it closed, seriously ill people were expected to live in the community with no robust plans in place and, over the years, community services have been slashed. If Hunt is serious, he needs to commit serious money (billions) to the issue. There's a need for humane, secure units with highly skilled staff.

daphnedill Mon 08-May-17 10:04:45

X post annie

daphnedill Mon 08-May-17 10:09:03

I think these are the changes Hunt was talking about, so they're already in the pipeline - nothing new. He now needs to ensure funding is in place.

Anniebach Mon 08-May-17 10:30:16

It was announced at the weekend , the mental health act is to be scrapped and replaced because of mentally ill suffers being detained and police are not medically qualified to deal with them. I agree but what will happen to these ill people? There has to be places of safety where they can been admitted and this will take a lot of money,

I fear it is suddenly of concern to both Tory and Labour Party because it follows the Windsor publicity and could win some votes

daphnedill Mon 08-May-17 10:35:44

I think the Mental Health Act has already been amended. That's what my link was about.

I regret that it's been linked to the Police and Crime Act and doesn't address the needs of people with psychotic conditions unless they commit some crime or come to the notice of police.

Hunt needs to be looking at provision before crimes are committed and/or people become addicted.

daphnedill Mon 08-May-17 10:38:36

As far as I know, the MP who is campaigning most vociferously for mental health is the LibDem Norman Lamb. I suspect Hunt is trying to take some credit for the work Lamb is doing.

daphnedill Mon 08-May-17 10:49:03

On 9 January the government released its response to the Mental Health Taskforce’s report The Five Year Forward view for Mental Health. In general, the Taskforce’s 58 recommendations were accepted, in some instances with commitments exceeding recommendations, with an emphasis on ‘building resilience, promoting good mental health and wellbeing, prevention and early intervention’.

The Taskforce, chaired by Mind’s Chief Executive Paul Farmer, reported in February last year, setting out a detailed five-year plan for the NHS and other bodies involved in delivering mental health support services. With input from professionals and over 20,000 people with lived experience, the report stressed the need for parity of support between physical and mental health and an increasing focus on preventing mental health problems from arising or deteriorating. The key recommendations included:

Support to an additional one million people with mental health problems by 2020/21.
24/7 access to mental health care for those facing a crisis.
Equality of treatment and esteem between physical and mental health.
Wider focus on good mental health from all areas of society, such as schools, workplaces and community organisations.
Urgent action to ensure equality of access to mental health care, in particular for those from Black and Minority Ethnic communities.

The report was welcomed by NHS England and the then-Prime Minister David Cameron, who responded: ‘The Taskforce has set out how we can work towards putting mental and physical healthcare on an equal footing and I am committed to making sure that happens.’ The report was released alongside Theresa May’s recent announcements, focusing on more support for mental health in schools and workplaces.

On the Taskforce’s recommendation to consider whether the Mental Health Act 1983 needed to be revised, the government responded that it would continue to the keep the Act and its Code under review; but it also added that consideration is being given to whether Community Treatment Orders under section 17A could be extended to allow treatment in the community which would currently be given in hospital.

The response sets out some ambitious goals. Mind will continue to hold government to account to ensure the promises set out are delivered.

For anybody who cares about mental health issues, let's hold the government to account and make sure Theresa May doesn't forget the government's commitments when it starts with a clean slate.

vampirequeen Mon 08-May-17 11:02:32

She said they will reassign 10000 NHS staff to mh services. This won't be new staff but staff taken from other already struggling departments.

It's all smoke and mirrors.

Anniebach Mon 08-May-17 11:12:20

Most election promises are hot air

daphnedill Mon 08-May-17 11:16:45

I agree. RMN training (as it was) took a year to 18 months (can't remember exactly) after general training. Is the government suddenly going to find money to retrain 10,000 staff, never mind provide safe, secure units?

The media mocked Diane Abbott for messing up her figures for recruiting 10,000 extra police officers. Why isn't somebody asking about the costs of providing an extra 10,000 MH staff (even if they are reassigned from other specialism)?

It's absolute nonsense when nursing jobs already can't be filled and there's a chronic shortage of midwives, etc.

daphnedill Mon 08-May-17 11:21:21

This isn't really an election promise, because it's already happened. What Hunt needs to promise (and stick to) is extra money to fulfill a prior commitment.

What he's been talking about is, in any case, only one small issue in mental health. It will only affect those who are brought to police attention and will do nothing for the rest. I wouldn't mind betting that the availability of counselling, etc gets even worse.

nightowl Mon 08-May-17 12:11:34

I think as *daphnedil' says this will only address one aspect of the Mental Heath Act. It seems to me the government are thinking of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. In my opinion, and speaking from experience as a former AMHP, the police need to retain the power to detain people who appear to be mentally unwell and this power has saved many lives. What shouldn't happen, and needn't happen, is that those people are then taken to a police station. This was never intended in the legislation (which refers to 'a place of safety'). Many Health Trusts have provided fully staffed facilities for people detained in this way, where they can be cared for safely and quickly assessed by qualified professionals. Unfortunately with cuts to NHS services many trusts can no longer provide the service leading to a greater use of police cells. The police are understandably as unhappy about the situation as anyone else.

The issue the government needs to grasp is that their policies are a direct cause of the problem - what is needed is more funding, not new legislation.

Iam64 Mon 08-May-17 13:15:16

daphnedill and nightowl put it well. Government cuts to essential health and other public services are significant contributors to the number of people with mental health problems being detained in police cells.
The police have enough to do without being the 999 service called out when all else has failed.
The government needs to be held to account. What are they going to replace this emergency provision with? The austerity agenda continues. I'm finding coverage of the election campaign disappointing. Repetition of the strong stable rather than Jeremy fails to answer the questions many people are asking about the impact of the cuts.
It's every area of public service. I read last week the closure of Sure Start Centres now tops the 1000 mark. What about post natally depressed and isolated mothers. Single mothers and fathers who had enough support from the family centres to help prevent them sinking further into anxiety, depression, substance misuse and eventually to live a better life for themselves and their children.
The Centres I know also provided some good groups and/or individual work for children experiencing anxiety, depression, bereavement.
The way in which the government presents its "positive changes" is sickening. The say the Mental Health Act needs scrapping because too many people end up in Police cells is to misrepresent the situation totally.

gillybob Mon 08-May-17 13:38:59

Apologies in advance for what might seem (to some) as a rather stupid idea, but here goes anyway.

Given that there is a shortage of trained nurses, why can't we re-train older people (40's upwards) to become special mental health "nurses". They would not need to be fully trained nurses but they would be highly trained in looking after and caring for people with mental illnesses. There are some people working as community carers who would be excellent candidates for this (okay some not so good but it would be easy to tell).

Also I have noticed more and more that some of the trained nurses seem to do less and less and are almost becoming elitist (in some areas of medicine) again apologies, but just speaking as I see that some nurses don't seem to want to get their hands dirty.

daphnedill Mon 08-May-17 14:02:43

Mental health nursing is a specialist field. Community caring is not the same thing at all. Sorry, but I speak as the sister of somebody who went into nursing via the "old route" after O levels. Mental health nursing is not the same as nursing people with special needs, although some people have both.

The RMN qualification was a three year course. My sister did it as a top up to her SRN and I can't remember whether it was a year or 18 month course. She then went on to do specialist qualifications for district nursing, so studied for a total of 5 or 6 years. I remember sitting with her while she revised for her exams and they were tough - on top of learning on the job.

gillybob Mon 08-May-17 14:05:41

I didn't say community caring was the same daphnedill I said that there are some (carers) who would make excellent candidates to train as specialist MH nurses.

gillybob Mon 08-May-17 14:08:38

The point i was trying to make was; Is it really necessary for someone to go through the full nurses training in order to specialise in MH nursing? Would it be possible to take a more mature candidate and train them specifically for MH nursing.

daphnedill Mon 08-May-17 14:34:30

I don't see why it would have to be a mature candidate. I know I'm biased because my sister worked in this field. Maturity doesn't make for better nurses. Sometimes they can be very set in their ways.

I remember the first few weeks of my sister's training were about self-defence, restraining people safely and looking after her own mental health. The training covered a huge range of topics, including the whole range of mental illnesses. It's a tough and unpopular job.

I've never been a nurse, so I don't know if everything is relevant, but I think a registered nurse is the real deal rather than somebody who's just done a short course.

I'm not in favour of dumbing down qualifications. It can be seen in doctors' surgeries with nurse practioners. I always insist on seeing a GP about my diabetes rather than the diabetic nurse practioner, because I don't trust her to have an overview of my health.

daphnedill Mon 08-May-17 14:35:33

I'm not sure they would make excellent mental health nurses gillybob.

Christinefrance Mon 08-May-17 16:49:32

I was an old school RMN and now my daughter has graduated and works as an Admiral Nurse. Before she specialised she went out in the community with the police to assist people with mental health issues. It was almost always the same story, Nurses and Police brought the situation under control but then there were no beds for people to get further care, they spent hours after the incidents trying to find care. The big psychiatric hospitals closed but nothing replaced them. Of course we don't want to go back to the old Asylums but we do need places of safety where people can get treatment.

gillybob Mon 08-May-17 21:43:05

I did say "some of them would make excellent candidates" not all daphnedill

Okay so it was a stupid suggestion. Just wondering why someone with the right temperament and attitude could not be trained from day one as a MH nurse.