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Tories pledge to scrap Mental Health Act to reduce unnecessary detentions


By Carolyn Wickware
8 May 2017

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The Conservative Party has pledged to ‘rip up’ the existing Mental Health Act with an updated version that tackles ‘unnecessary detention’.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the new laws would stop the increase in people being detained under the Act against their will.

The Conservatives also pledged 10,000 more NHS mental health staff by 2020, following a commitment to spend £1bn on mental health services in January.

The Conservative Party has pledged to ‘rip up’ the existing Mental Health Act with an updated version that tackles ‘unnecessary detention’.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the new laws would stop the increase in people being detained under the Act against their will.

The Conservatives also pledged 10,000 more NHS mental health staff by 2020, following a commitment to spend £1bn on mental health services in January.

In her announcement Ms May echoed her first statement as Prime Minister, saying that ‘shortfalls in mental health services are one of the burning injustices in our country’.

She said: ‘It is abundantly clear to me that the discriminatory use of a law passed more than three decades ago is a key part of the reason for this.

'So today I am pledging to rip up the 1983 act and introduce in its place a new law which finally confronts the discrimination and unnecessary detention that takes place too often.

She added that that a Conservative government will roll out mental health support to every school in the country, ensure that mental health is taken far more seriously in the workplace, and raise standards of care.

However, Labour's shadow mental health minister Barbara Keeley said ‘warm words’ would not help to combat the inequalities in mental health services.

She said: 'The Tories have not delivered on their promise to give mental health the same priority as physical health. They appear to be offering no extra funding and have consistently raided mental health budgets over the last seven years.

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