Mental health mechanism reviewed

Members of the Advisory Committee on Mental Health were briefed today by the Hospital Authority on preliminary review outcomes with regard to the conditional discharge mechanism under the Mental Health Ordinance.   At a meeting, Under Secretary for Health Dr Libby Lee thanked members for actively expressing their views.   She pointed out that the premise of the mechanism is to allow patients with mental disorders, upon stabilisation of their conditions, to return to their familiar environments to continue rehabilitation.   She added, however, that it is of utmost importance to strike a balance between protecting the health, safety and rights of patients and those of the public.   On this basis, she said, the mechanism will be taken forward in four directions.   Firstly, she outlined that the mechanism will be improved by extending it to cover patients with a medical history of or disposition to commit criminal violence who are admitted voluntarily, in addition to those who undergo compulsory detention, such that the former can receive appropriate follow-up care and support under the mechanism.     Other directions for improvement include enhancing support to patients on conditional discharge and their carers; recalling patients whose condition has deteriorated and who have violated the discharge conditions to hospital in time for treatment; and establishing a case review period for patients under conditional discharge.   Regarding a proposal to introduce compulsory treatment orders, the Government and the advisory committee were in consensus that there is currently no consistent research to support the efficacy of such orders in reducing the risk of patients exhibiting violent behaviour, while its introduction would restrict the freedom of patients.
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