Charles Walker calls for mental health patients to get full representation and advocacy

Charles Walker MP speaking in the House of Commons

Following the discovery of irregularities in the way different strategic health authorities approve doctors who can assess patients for detention under the Mental Health Act, new emergency legislation is to be introduced this week. Charles Walker calls on the Government to take this opportunity to ensure that people who are ill get the representation and advocacy they deserve and that they - and their rights - are taken seriously in future.

Mr Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con): Removing the liberty of ill people is serious business, and deserves to be taken seriously. That has not been the case for the past decade, or perhaps even longer. I hope that, as we go forward, we can ensure that people who are ill get the representation and advocacy they deserve and that they—and, most importantly, their rights—are taken seriously.

Mr Hunt: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. As a result of the new structures in the NHS, responsibility for ensuring that all patients who are threatened with detention receive the advocacy to which they are entitled under the Mental Health Act will be transferred from primary care trusts to local authorities. We will use this opportunity to review the arrangements, talk to local authorities, and do all that we can to ensure that those functions are discharged in the way my hon. Friend seeks.

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