Letter: In confidence

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The Independent Online
YOUR leader ''Care that made killers' (27 February) was right to stress the need for community care policy to do two things: ensure public safety and protect the rights of the mentally ill. It is doing neither satisfactorily.

Virginia Bottomley implied last weekend that civil liberties groups have been holding back progress in community care. The truth is that organisations such as Mind have always argued for decent systems of community care, clear accountability and firm guidance for professionals. Trying to blame charities for failures in public policy simply will not do.

The Government has long discussed - but never produced - a code of practice on confidentiality, which would instruct mental health workers on when they should, and should not, breach confidence. Such a code would ensure that staff do pass on information in cases of grave risk and do not pass personal information to others when there is no reason to do so.

Liz Sayce

Mind, London E15