• Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill

    11 July 2018

    Dear Constituent

    Thank you for contacting me about the use of force in mental health units, and Steve Reed's Private Member's Bill.
    I appreciate the concerns raised by the Private Member's Bill. Inspired by the death of Olaseni Lewis, one of Mr Reed's constituents, in a mental health unit in 2010, this Bill seeks to enforce that mental health units record all uses of force, develop written policies about the use of force, commit to reducing the use of force in all instances, record its use when it occurs, and provide patients clear information about their rights. Furthermore, any eventual death must be reported to the Secretary of State, and independently reviewed.
    You will be pleased to know this Bill is being supported by the Government. Health Minister, Jackie Doyle-Price, acknowledged that for too long the use of force has been seen as the norm in health and mental health institutions, and that this Bill will be instrumental in changing this culture. I will follow its progress closely through Parliament.
    Also, in October 2017, the Prime Minister announced that the Government would embark on a comprehensive review of the Mental Health Act, which has remained unchanged since the 1980s. The review will be led by Professor Sir Simon Wessely, former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and he will consider the needs of all users of mental health services and their families, and improve the system's support for those during a mental health crisis, with a particular focus on reducing the use of force under the Act, and ending the disproportionate rates of detention of ethnic minority patients.
    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely

    Mel Stride

    MP for Central Devon

    Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General