Bay MP hails changes to mental health law in wake of Torquay incident
Torbay MP Adrian Sanders has hailed the news that the Home Secretary will announce a significant overhaul of mental health laws in both England and Wales. One of the most prominent changes will be that teenagers with mental health problems can no longer be kept in police cells as a place of safety.
The news follows recent revelations that a 16-year old girl in Torquay was kept in a police cell for two days because there were no suitable beds in care facilities in the country. Fortunately she was later found a bed in an adult psychiatric ward. At the time, Adrian raised the issue in the House of Commons with the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.
The joint review by the Home Office and the Department of Health also recommended changes in the time someone in mental distress can be detained, reducing the maximum time from three days to one.
On hearing the news, Adrian said: “It is about time that substantial changes are made to mental health law. While increased funding is always welcome, it is changes in the law which makes a real difference.
“This is not just to prevent situations such as that which occurred in Torquay from happening again, but to encourage a broader change in our attitudes towards those who suffer from mental health problems and the issue of our mental health care as a whole.”
Liberal Democrat health minister Norman Lamb said ensuring up to £1.5bn is freed to invest in the NHS in 2015/16 should be a priority for the Government. Mr Lamb also called for a part of the extra funding to focus on improving mental health care, particularly for children and young people. The funding would be in place from next April. Then the Liberal Democrats want to invest at least £1bn extra in the NHS in each year of the next Parliament, as well as carrying out a review of health and care budgets.
(from a press release)