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Why the NHS has greater “powers” than the police to search

Comment 9th July 2010

I suggest an urgent review of the MHA 2007.  As a mental health patient you may have less rights than a criminal. The distinction between a community Hospital and a jail should be fundamental.  Once that becomes blurred the whole basis for therapy crumbles (Linklater m. 2001) The power to stop and search law abiding vulnerable people and give medication without consent raises deep concens that violate human and civil rights for those who have already lost their liberty/freedom – the inequality between physical and mental health care within the NHS is clear.  Though there is much evidence of excellent mental health care, to balance this there are many flaws, examples of rigid rules, overly oppressive environments that promote dependency in a contolling and custodial culture. stark power imbalances and routine practices  that include cto's, physical and chemical restraints, exclusion and seclusion may succeed in escalating rather than reducing distress.  That this can be termed as "treatment in their best interest" beggars belief. The NHS may increasingly be challenged by once powerless resilient people, due to out dated patriarchal approaches and overcoming adversity.  Requesting medical records and redressing the balance  maybe paramount for all our sakes. 1:4 of us may experience mental health difficulties.  Hostile environments within and outside the institution may increase health and safety risks for all and hinder therapeutic relationships, trust and recovery.

Guidelines/policy/procedures may benefit from robust srcutiny and clear transparent independent audits to ensure vulnerable law abiding patients/citizens/staff are safeguarded/protected from unintentional institutional abuse.

Why does this matter?

 

So much has improved over the past 20 years: the introduction of the NSF/new  horizons/ and recently everyones right to advocacy however, a culture with increased dehumanising power may counter balance progressive steps.  greater accountability/justification maybe urgently needed to protect the most vulnerable in society that at times are treated as second class citizens.

The government appear to have overlooked a committment of "openess and transparency" to better regulate lucrative pharmaceutical companys.  A conflict of interest? sponsoring and potentially skewing much medical research and data.

The human and service cost of mental illness continues to rise.  Human connectedness , compassion, kindness respect and dignity are free and maybe key  for all our futures.

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