The reasons you should make mental health records public

Rosie DiManno: Public does not get the info it needs when people abscond from mental health centre Last week this programme called for reams of mental health records to be released to the public…

The reasons you should make mental health records public

Rosie DiManno: Public does not get the info it needs when people abscond from mental health centre

Last week this programme called for reams of mental health records to be released to the public because it contained the names of those deemed too mentally ill to stand trial but unfit to be held in an adult prison.

The problem is that mental health admissions records, contained in the Criminal Records Bureau, are kept private and cannot be made public under the Mental Health Act.

So the programme asked why that confidentiality is kept, when it is in the public interest for people to know about each person’s treatment.

Previously the Mental Health Act said its purpose was to stop people from harming others.

But the think tank Civitas claims that in 2014 there were a total of 6,076 mental health admissions, 12% of whom committed a crime or an act that could potentially cause harm to others.

This proposal gets support from the General Medical Council.

But some mental health charities warn that it might open the floodgates for more court judgements.

The Mental Health Commission has rejected this argument.

It also rejects criticisms that it can lead to people not being released and could lead to pressure for people to be held in custody.

It states that there are any number of ways to breach the code of practice laid down by the Mental Health Act, which means courts can still be forced to commit someone.

It states that there is no reason to believe that mental health records could not be made public under the act.

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