Guidelines on mentally ill 'failing'

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Indy Politics
MOVES promised by Virginia Bottomley, Secretary of State for Health, to safeguard the public against the dangerous mentally ill are failing, with some trusts and health authorities refusing to set up registers of people who may turn violent, writes Rosie Waterhouse.

Government guidance to hospitals to compile registers of mentally ill patients who are a danger to themselves or others is 'unlawful' and could breach British and European law, according to legal advice given to Mind, the mental health charity.

Judi Clements, Mind's national director, said the registers would be an offence against basic civil rights and 'a smokescreen to cover the appalling failures in the community care system. Now we have leading counsel's opinion that they are not a legal directive and could breach the law. It is clear the money would be much better spent building national minimum standards of community care'.