BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Health  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Medical notes
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 14 November, 2002, 14:57 GMT
Milburn promises Mental Health Bill
A draft bill was published last June
A new Mental Health Bill will be brought before parliament in the coming months, Health Secretary Alan Milburn has insisted.

There has been speculation that plans to overhaul existing legislation had been shelved after it was omitted from the Queen's Speech.

However, Health Secretary Alan Milburn told MPs on Thursday that a Bill would be introduced in the current parliamentary session.


We will be bring forward a bill in the course of this session

Health Secretary Alan Milburn
Ministers have faced fierce opposition from doctors, patient groups and campaigners over their plans to reform mental health laws.

Shake-up

A draft Bill, published in June, promised the biggest shake up of the sector in England and Wales for decades.

However, two proposals in particular sparked an outcry.

These included plans to force mentally ill people living in the community to take their medication; and proposals to detain dangerous people with severe personality disorders even if they have not committed a crime.

The Department of Health has received around 2,000 responses to the draft Bill.

Mr Milburn said proposed legislation would be drawn up after these submissions had been considered.

"When we have finished considering those responses we will be bring forward a bill in the course of this session," he told MPs.

"Reform has to happen in mental health services just as they have to happen in the rest of the health service."

He added: "We will press ahead with reform of the mental health laws. The current laws are rooted in the 1950s."

Warning

Earlier this week, doctors and campaigners expressed their hope that ministers would think again about some of the proposed reforms.

The Mental Health Alliance, an umbrella organisation bringing together over 50 different groups, had spearheaded a campaign against the proposals.

The British Medical Association has warned that if the proposals outlined in the draft Bill were implemented they could cause mental health services to collapse.

Speaking on Wednesday, Dr Robin Arnold of the BMA said: "We have serious concerns about the Bill in its draft form and believe that if implemented could result in the collapse of mental health services in England and Wales."

The BMA and other groups said they hoped ministers would enter discussions on any new legislation.


Key stories

Blair's programme

Analysis

Queen's Speech quiz

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO

FORUM
See also:

25 Jun 02 | Health
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories

 BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes