Published: 04/07/2002, Volume II2, No. 5812 Page 8

The government will need to recruit a further 600 psychiatrists to sit on the proposed mental health tribunals, which will authorise compulsory treatment beyond 28 days for people with mental illness.The claim by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Law Society follows the publication of the government's controversial draft Mental Health Bill last week.The tribunals are meant to offer protection for people wrongfully detained under a new mental health act.They will be made up of a legally qualified chair and two members with experience of mental health services, of which one will have a 'clinical background'. A college spokesperson said: 'They will require the time of 600 extra psychiatrists. It would be impossible to recruit such numbers.Those in post would have to be diverted from direct patient care.'