Views And Reviews

BMA calls for national standards in community care

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 09 April 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:984
  1. L Beecham

    Doctors and other health workers are calling on the British government to introduce a national charter of rights to cover people who need community care. There is concern at the lack of a coordinated and coherent approach to community care across Britain.

    The British Medical Association, together with the charities Help the Aged and MIND (a mental health charity), is proposing nationally agreed minimum standards. These would include a 24 hour response service for those in crisis. Dr Alistair Riddell, chairman of the BMA's community care committee, said: “We support community care, but it should not be a cheap option, and there are a number of deficiencies. It is totally unsatisfactory that you can get patients in an acute medical state into hospital but when you get people who don't easily fit into one slot - for instance, in the area of mental health - it's not so easy. It's no use just having a helpline; we need to coordinate action.”

    The charter being suggested would also include provision within mental health services for a sanctuary or asylum for those who request it. This was also recommended by the inquiry team that looked at the case of Christopher Clunis, a schizophrenic patient who stabbed and killed a man. The policy director of MIND, Liz Sayce, said: “What is clear from the Clunis case is that he was looking for help and not finding it. Most of these people are looking for help and not finding it. It is missing the point simply to introduce new legal powers.” MIND is calling for an injection of …

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