Scotsman | September 21 2005

NINE times as many people as first thought will be forced to undergo compulsory mental health treatment under planned reforms in England and Wales, a new study claims.

The draft Mental Health Bill proposes allowing patients to be made to take medication and detained if necessary. The King's Fund study said that in 15 years as many as 13,000 could be placed under such orders, rather than the Government's 1450 figure. But the Government said the "flawed" study produced incorrect estimates. The bill was first introduced in 2002.

Under the 1983 Mental Health Act patients can be sectioned, but only if their condition is treatable. The new bill, which received 2000 objections when it was first unveiled, proposes allowing people to be forcibly treated to protect the public.

Campaigners say it will make it too easy to detain people who have mild personality disorders.