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Enable calls for a change to new mental health laws

This news post is about 9 years old
 

Learning disability charity says learning disabled are more likely to be locked up and treated unfairly under mental health laws

MSPs should review whether people with learning disabilities should be subject to mental health laws that could see them locked up in institutions for months on end.

Learning disability charity Enable Scotland says Scots with learning disabilities are significantly more likely than others to be detained in hospital or forced to have treatment under existing mental health legislation.

Some people with learning disabilities believe that they should not be subect to compulsory measures because of the ease with which health professionals misunderstand their mental health conditions.

For more than 10 years, people who have learning disabilities have been promised a review of their position under mental health legislation.

Now Labour MSP Jackie Baillie's is callling for a legislative commitment to a review to be added into the new mental health bill, which is due to recieve its final debate in the Scottish Parliament this week.

Jan Savage

The amendment tabled by Jackie Baillie MSP will ensure that a timely review is actually taken forward by government some 14 years since it was initially recommended

Jan Savage

Enable Scotland the the Scottish Parliament's cross party group on learning disability has previously expressed collective concern that people with learning disabilities are not always well served by mental health laws. They are now calling on MSPs to back Baillie's proposed amendments to the bill.

Jan Savage, assistant director of campaigns and membership at Enable Scotland, said: "Members of the cross party group on learning disability believe that the amendment tabled by Jackie Baillie MSP will ensure that a timely review is actually taken forward by government some 14 years since it was initially recommended.

"We consider it unacceptable that such a review has not happened before now, given the earlier recommendations in 2001 and 2009. MSPs now have the opportunity to deliver a firm legislative commitment and secure the long-promised review."

Supporters of mental health laws argue that removing people with learning disabilities from the Mental Health Act would leave them vulnerable.

Savage emphasised: "The amendment tabled by Jackie Baillie MSP seeks only to secure a review of the position of people who have learning disabilities under the Mental Health Act. The amendment does not pre-determine the outcome of the review."

The mental health (Scotland) bill is due to reach its final stage 3 debate in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, 24 June.

Supporters of the review of the position of Scots with learning disabilites can access a standard letter to send to their MSP to express their support for the amendment.