CQC highlights human rights concerns in treatment of mental health patients

CQC highlights human rights concerns in treatment of mental health patients

Human rights campaigns group Black Mental Health UK has welcomed the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) first annual report on the use of the Mental Health Act , which has highlighted human rights concerns in the treament of detained patients.

This new report entitled ‘Monitoring the use of the Mental Health Act 2009/10’ has shed light on practices which are likely to violate human rights law.

The 124 page report shows that hospitals are detaining patients in inappropriately secure settings and medicating them without their consent.
Concerns have also been raised over the imposition of Community Treatment Orders (CTO) on patients who have no history of refusing to take their medication or co-operating with community services.

The QCQ report confirms black patients more likely to be subject to CTO’s even though evidence shows that close to a third (30%) of patients subject to these orders have no history of refusing to take their medication or co-operating with community services.

The health regulator expressed concern as to why there are more patients from some of the black and minority ethnic (BME) groups placed on a CTO compared to the proportions among detained patients.

The general cultural shift towards more defensive practices and aversion to risk has also been noted as priority areas where services need to change.
The lack of privacy, the over occupancy of beds, the lack of access to a clinician except in a ward round and the move to treating patients in secure settings are also touched on this report. With figures from the Count Me In Censuses showing that black people make up over 40% of people within medium secure psychiatric settings the failures highlighted in this new report will hit black Britons hardest.

Health campaigners and professionals from the community warned of the dangers that provision within the new Mental Health Act would have on Briton’s black communities when back in 2007 when the Bill received Royal Assent.

Changes in the 2007 Mental Health Act came with a health warning of the impact CTO’s (also known as psychiatric asbos) would have on the community. Today’s report confirms health expert worst fears.

‘It is disturbing to see that today’s QCQ report confirms the warnings we made over CTO’s back in 2007. We said that they would result in increased numbers of black people being subject to compulsion in their own home and this has become a reality for thousands.
There is a stigma attached to being on a CTO when living in the community which will undoubtedly have an impact on a person’s health and quality of life.

A lot more needs to be done to ensure that CTOs are only imposed in strict accordance to legal requirements and backed up with the proper care and support or this will be another area where health providers find themselves in breach of human rights law.’ Matilda MacAttram director of Black Mental Health UK said.

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