You are here

New government mental health plans announced

18th September 2006

The Department of Health (DoH) has announced a new initiative to protect patients with serious mental illness from themselves and from harming others.

According to the DoH, "safer patients mean safer public".

A risk management programme has been set up to assist professionals in assessing risk, ensuring that a body of knowledge built on past experiences is maintained and implementing better systems for sharing information between agencies.

A small minority of people with mental health problems need intensive support, said the DoH statement, and this is usually given in order to protect the patient themselves.

"Some people with severe mental health problems can pose a danger to themselves. A smaller number can pose a danger to the public. We are committed to minimising this danger and helping patients regain their independence," said health minister Rosie Winterton.

"We need to be better at spotting the signs of danger, we need to improve the way agencies work together and we need to provide care that will help patients recover and regain their independence."

The government has said that this is part of their manifesto delivery to "provide safeguards" for those with long-term mental health problems that need "compulsory treatment coupled with appropriate protection for the public".