We truly are in the era of Newspeak as predicted by Orwell.
The Tories have just announced that they will revoke the Mental Health Act, on the grounds that they want to reduce “discrimination” and “unnecessary detention”.
The Conservatives are apparently concerned that “vulnerable people are being subject to detention, including in police cells, unnecessarily” . The number of people detained or “sectioned” under the Mental Health Act has been rising.
Is this an example of a caring Conservative policy or is there something else at play here? Mental Health, like the rest of the NHS, is in crisis. At least 6,700 mental health nurses and doctors have been cut from the NHS in England since 2010. Over half of mental health trusts in England have cut the number of beds for patients in crisis, despite a government promise of £1 billion of extra funding.
People suffering a mental health crisis can be a danger to themselves and others. Due to lack of beds and staff, police are having to detain such people, instead of taking them to a mental health hospital. Very often, such people are already known to mental health services and, although still unwell, have been released from hospital, due to bed shortages. These are the “unnecessary detentions” that the government are referring to. They are people who are detained under the Mental Health Act because they are likely to be a danger to themselves and others. Abolishing the Act will do nothing to diagnose or help these people. No doubt, the government’s plan is to treat them like criminals and to put them in prison, where private enterprises can make a profit from them, at the taxpayers’ expense.