The King's Fund welcomes government announcement on scrutiny for mental health bill

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'The King's Fund welcomes the government's decision to subject a revised Mental Health Bill to pre-legislative scrutiny before the Bill is presented to Parliament,' said Rabbi Julia Neuberger, The King's Fund chief executive.

The draft Bill was unworkable and unpopular, as the huge adverse response to it demonstrated. The government's decision to revise the Bill and engage in pre- legislative scrutiny signals that they have listened to the concerns of those working in and using mental health services.

'We welcome the government's commitment to work with key stakeholders to implement mental health reform, but have particular concerns about the availability of a suitably trained workforce. A recent inquiry by The King's Fund into London's mental health services, London's State of Mind: King's Fund Mental Health Inquiry 2003, said that London's NHS workforce shortages are particularly severe in many parts of the capital's mental health services.

'In addition to this, London's mental health workforce is under increasing pressure from a high number of mental health service users, who also have a drug or alcohol related problem. Staff are not sufficiently trained to give these patients the help and support they need.

'As a core member of the Mental Health Alliance, we look forward to working with the government to produce better mental health legislation, which works for patients and health professionals and not against them.'

Notes to editors

For further information, or interviews with The King's Fund staff, please contact Daniel Reynolds in the public affairs team on 020 7307 2581 or 07831 554927, or Helen Evans on 020 7307 2632 or 07774 218439.