Intended for healthcare professionals


Strengthen mental health bill to tackle “inexcusable” failures on racial inequality, says scrutiny committee

BMJ 2023; 380 doi: (Published 19 January 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;380:p150
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

The government must act swiftly to strengthen a draft bill overhauling outdated mental health laws in England and Wales, the committee of MPs and peers appointed to scrutinise the bill has urged.1

The joint committee on the draft mental health bill called for it to be made stronger to tackle the rising number of people detained under current laws and the “unacceptable and inexcusable” failures on racial inequality. “Community treatment orders are 11 times more likely to be given to black people than white people and this figure is rising,” noted the committee. “The evidence we heard suggests they are ineffective for most patients.”

The draft bill grew out of an independent review of the Mental Health Act 1983, the main legislation governing the compulsory detention and treatment …

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