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Mental Health Bill row

Health Minister Rosie Winterton has expressed deep concerns over peers' amendments to the Mental Health Bill and the impact they may have on patient care and public safety.

Last month the House of Lords voted to amend the Bill to allow treatment only where it was likely to help, to remove some grounds for diagnosis and to ensure detained patients were examined more regularly.

It followed concerns that the Government's original proposals would force doctors to treat some patients against their will and where there was no clinical justification.

Speaking at the Local Government Association conference in London last week, Ms Winterton said: 'The present law can deny treatment to those who are in urgent need of it. We want to modernise the law to remove these obstacles for the good of patients themselves and to better protect the public.

'But the peers have seriously weakened our plans.

'These are people with profound mental health needs, who, at times, will pose a serious risk. For the sake of patients themselves, their families and the safety of the public, these changes must be overturned.'

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