I was extremely saddened to hear about the death of Seni Lewis after he voluntarily admitted himself into Bethlem Royal Hospital in August 2010.
Restraint in mental health units are still used far too regularly, despite Department of Health guidelines that state it should be used only as a last resort. This Bill seeks to reduce the use of force in four key ways: through transparency, evidence, accountability, and justice.
As you may know, the Bill will require that physical restraint is used only in compliance with written policy, and for training to be provided to all frontline staff. It will also require hospitals to publish data on how and when physical force is used, and improve oversight so that staff are aware of the risks of unconscious bias against minority groups such as young black men with mental ill-health.
More widely I welcome plans for an independent review of the Mental Health Act, which the Government has confirmed will consider issues including: looking at why rates of detention are increasing; examining the disproportionate number of those from certain ethnic backgrounds, in particular black people, who are detained under the Act; and ensuring that those with mental ill-health are treated fairly and protected from discrimination. A final report containing detailed recommendations is expected by autumn 2018.
I am pleased to say that the Bill has progressed through the House of Commons and passed its first reading in the House of Lords on the 9 July and will have its second reading on the 7 September. I can assure you that I will continue to support this Bill as it progresses through Parliament.