Why should the Government be believed when it hints at non-statutory answers to some of the issues around reform of mental health law (Michael White column, 4 January, page 10). The evidence tells us that we should be very wary of trusting them.
For the last nine years they have disregarded the views of service users, carers and professionals supporting them to update legislation on a consensual basis. They have continually failed to engage in meaningful dialogue, and have side-stepped the findings of numerous consultations. Further, they ignored the 107 recommendations made by an all-party group of MPs and Lords they established to advise them. Then, they decided to amend the 1983 Mental Health Act despite originally rejecting doing that in in favour of a root and branch reform.
So, all of us should be sceptical about what appears to be a further blocking tactic. It is outrageous for the Government to refer to non-existent solutions when it is has had plenty of time to develop its proposals.
Hopefully the Lords will reject the Government's empty promises and vote for there to be substantial changes to the Mental Health Bill. We must have positive mental health reform enacted, not at the future whim of a Minster.
Martin Ball,Head of Public Affairs, Together: Working for Wellbeing