Monday, March 03, 2008

Punishing Patients and Treating Prisoners

On the 1st July 2008, the smoking ban will come into effect for all mental health institutions - both in the buildings and the grounds.

Mental health patients are not allowed to leave the grounds to have a smoke but are more likely to smoke - 70% compared to the UK average of 26% - which is hardly surprising.

Two patients are taking their local NHS Trust to court under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees respect for private and family life; another is taking on the Secretary of State for Health for introducing the law in the first place. You'd think common sense would allow a mental health patient the odd cigarette in an outdoor smoking area.

Prisons, however, will continue to remain exempt.

Are we seriously now treating prisoners and punishing patients?

1 comment:

Eve Burt said...

Sounds like nanny state getting carried away again. Its always been argued that prisoners should be allowed to smoke as they are more likely to be 'volatile' and if smoking is their thing it may keep prisons calmer. The unfairness regarding mental health institutions is that for most people who find themselves in that position the facility they are in becomes 'home' and quite rightly so. Should we be in the business of demanding that they try and treat all their issues and addictions at once and make them feel that 'home' is not the safe place it should be - or take the more pragmatic view of 'lets get you better' before tackling the others things? Bearing in mind one in four of us will experience mental health issues in our lives we do need to take notice.