Swine flu prompts changes to Mental Health Act
Wednesday 23rd September 2009
The government plans to rush through measures allowing people with suspected mental health issues to be quickly detained because of fears over staff shortages in any forthcoming swine flu outbreak, it has been revealed.
The temporary changes to the Mental Health Act, as laid out in an unusually short consultation lasting just one month, would mean it would only take one doctor, rather than two, to have a person sectioned and put on medication without their consent.
The measures could have a serious effect on the thousands of patients with psychiatric issues who currently live outside state care, meaning many could be detained against their will on the word of just one health professional.
With very little information on the proposed changes published, many mental health experts have warned the government that they risk side-lining an already vulnerable community and have called on it to spell-out the full raft of changes proposed in the consultation.