Thursday, October 8, 2009

It would only take one doctor...

Over at Jeff's blog, one poster has rather unkindly suggested that Lord George Foulkes ought to be sectioned, as a means to "cut public spending and help reduce the deficit at a stroke". This is presumably a reference to the Labour peer's two sets of parliamentary expenses claims (from the Scottish Parliament and from the House of Lords) and to his hard-earned reputation for submitting an extraordinary number of vexatious and costly written parliamentary questions and Freedom of Information requests. But I wonder if Marcia's comment might also have been inspired by the frankly chilling news the other week that the London government Lord Foulkes enthusiastically supports is using the swine flu pandemic as an excuse to rush through changes that would allow mental health patients to be sectioned with the go-ahead of just one doctor?

It's hard to think of a bigger human rights issue than this. I don't know what the procedure is, and whether parliamentary approval will be required for the change to take effect, but if that is the case, I hope and expect Lord Foulkes' colleagues in the upper chamber will block it.


  1. I posted about the Mental Health tribunals yesterday and there still is only one doctor. They consist of one doctor, one layperson and one legal person.

  2. Hi, Subrosa, I've just read your post and the very disturbing article you linked to. From what I can gather, however, the recommendations of two doctors are currently required to refer a case to the Mental Health Tribunal in the first place. Presumably the DoH consultation I referred to in my own post could only have effect in England - I've no idea what the stance of the Scottish Government will be, but I hope it's more enlightened.