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PROFESSOR GEORGE SZMUKLER (Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry and Society at              the Institute of Psychiatry    (For)

THE RT HON NORMAN LAMB MP (British Liberal Democrat Politician and Solicitor.  MP for North Norfolk since 2001.  Chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee.  (For)


AGAINST:  Professor Scott Weich – Professor of Psychiatry (Institute of Psychiatry)


E – petitition



My son has been in the mental health system for almost 28 years.

Despite all the interventions of psychiatry he has for the last 18 years been detained in various mental health hospitals and is delusional on a daily basis.

He has been given almost every drug in the system and also ECT so if this is the current cutting edge of scientific treatment why hasn’t he had some sort of recovery rather than sink deeper into the delusions he lives with now??

He wasn’t even 23 years old when he had his first psychotic episode which was brought on / due to a so called friend giving him LSD at Christmas 1989, he is now 51 he will never get those years back.

With my feeble brain I think if LSD a mind altering chemical can cause damage which it did to my son how can pumping him full of more mind altering chemicals help?? Over the years  I have seen many patients in the hospitals even longer than my son.

There definitely needs to be a new mental health act with psychiatry being brought into the 21st. Century with a more compassionate, humane way of care, dignity and respect for their suffering. Treating the whole person and not just the symptoms with the chemical restraint of today’s treatments

I vote for a NEW MENTAL HEALTH ACT.  –  Sandra Breakspeare.

(Mother/  Trustee) Chy-Sawel Mental Health Charity.


What about all those locked away  who could not attend the debate – I would change the title of this event to read:


I attach a few links to my blog to highlight the need for change.

“GET HER BACK WE’RE PAYING FOR THAT” :-  A true story of how we were treated back in 2014 when Elizabeth did not wish to return to the care home provided by Social Services hundreds of miles away where she had no food at the weekend (as per files) and was asked to choose between Mum and Dad.   “We are not speaking to you any more Ms Bevis as Mr B is next of kin”

ROYAL COURT OF JUSTICE – DISPLACEMENT OF ME AS NEAREST RELATIVE  –  Fancy turning up at the court having been told the time at midday, having been given hardly any warning with just a couple of hours to get to RCJ, and not having been given the correct court number.  I ended up attending the wrong court in the wrong building whilst proceedings took place elsewhere.

HOW A TEAM GANGS UP  –  Yes they certainly do know how to gang up and mental health law can easily be usurped.

Adult Treatment Units to ‘Community Living’ – Turf War for Billions ? — finolamoss 

SECTION 17 Leave  –  Talk about stigma!  This is treating everyone like criminals.

YOU WILL LOSE ME FOREVER IF YOU ARE NOT CAREFUL, MUM   –  this can easily be done when a team send someone far away and take away the phone.  For instance I have a note from someone from SLaMs legal team “you may wish to consider taking the phone away as this is a means where mother can remain in contact”

ABUSE AT BETHLEM ROYAL HOSPITAL  I will never forget this prison and yet they could not get rid of me fast enough.  I was threatened with arrest. “its all about Clozapine here – you should have done your research”    They succeeding in putting her this and when I saw Dr MacCabe at the Maudsley Debates I was quick to say what I thought about this chemical he seems to support so highly in his presentations.


Professor George Szmukler spoke of the differences between physical and mental health and how patients are treated and whilst someone can refuse treatment for physical health under the mental health matters were very different and described a case of someone refusing physical health treatment who had capacity. He then stated if this person had a mental disorder and made the same responses under MHA compulsion is based on two different criteria “risk to self or others” (disorder plus risk formula).  The autonomy or self-determination of people with mental disorders is not accorded the same respect as is given to all other patients.  A psychiatric patient’s ability to decide for him/herself can be ignored; nor is there any notion of ‘best interests’ from the patient’s point of view, largely according to his or her deeply held beliefs and values –   not what the doctor thinks is best.

Mental health law formula has not changed for over 200 years.  The recent turn in medicine from paternalism – doctor knows best – to patient self-determination, sadly, has passed psychiatry by.

He spoke of ‘Fusion Law’ – a generic law applicable across all medical specialities in all settings. Where a person has a difficulty in making a serious treatment decision, involuntary treatment would only be permitted, first, when objecting person is unable to make a decision for themselves – from any cause (whether physical or mental disorder) – and second if treatment is in the person’s best interests.

The solution for eliminating that discrimination is a generic law.  Northern Ireland has taken the ground-breaking step of enacting such a principled, rights-based law.

I would add that once you are declared ‘mental’ no one looks at physical healthproblems as it is not profitable.

THE RT HON NORMAN LAMB also delivered a good speech in favour of change to the MHA and I agreed with what he said especially with my own shocking experience of the MHA and being the Nearest Relative that the team want rid of and constantly having to go through court.

Its impossible to fight a political system unless you change it. 

I mentioned to Mr Lamb about private providers such as Cygnet, the cost per week of such facilities and how they have not benefitted Elizabeth and she had come out worse from Cygnet Stevenage.  They are not offering the right kind of care, patients are trapped on wards and not allowed out.  I distributed the petitions of Gillian Speke and Tracy Best and had photocopied these to highlight the failure of the MHA in keeping vulnerable people incarcerated at huge cost hundreds of miles away from home and family.  They are just left to deteriorate on wards.  Whilst other NHS services are drained of funds there is huge provision for these expensive all for profit prison-like facilities under the MH.  These facilities seem provided by NHS England.

There seems to be no support in the UK – seems to be all about max profit and no accountability.  Cygnet for instance is one of the main venture capital max profit providers whose hospitals charge £12500 pw.  I understand Cambian are also taken over by Cygnet’s owners UHS. Simon Stevens (Director NHS England) was once CEO.

The other speeches were good also but I believe only if there is change to the MHA can discrimination and abuse be ended and I think if things are left as they are then things will become worse.   There are a lot of people suffering right now and deprived of contact with their sons and daughters.

The law needs to be changed surrounding Nearest Relative –  I have been taken to court so many times and treated like a criminal.  There needs to be political change to restore separation of powers and rule of law.

The law needs to be changed surrounding MCA/best interest and in cases where there is lack of capacity, Court Orders restricting freedom of speech.  Every assessment should be done independently, not by AHMPs.   Elizabeth has fortunately been found to have capacity.

The cases mentioned above are just a few I am in touch with, who would all be in favour of change in the MHA.   Lastly here are the votes.

Voting - 56 Maudsley Debate

Unbelievable!  –  I doubt there was that many in the audience who were affected by the true reality as reflected in these votes.   This shows that the majority do not have an understanding of the effects of such an unfair system with a MHA not fit for purpose in my opinion and of the opinion of many others also badly affected and let down.

Panel - 56 Maudsley debate


After the debate there was a reception with drinks and canapes –  I took the opportunity to speak to a few people about the petitions and cases I am in touch with because of the failure of the MHA.  Just look at the case of Sandra Breakspeare’s son.  All have family who deeply care and look at the situation.

I would like to see urgent changes – it is appalling how people are treated in the UK both patients and their families.







I am posting this link to advertise a forthcoming event at the Institute of Psychiatry on the 04 July between 09:00 and 18:00
Email contact

Speakers Frank Bruno MBE
Norman Lamb MP
Lord Dennis Stevenson
Charles Walker MP
Dr Diana Rose – Service User Research Enterprise
Clarke Carlisle – Chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association & Ambassador for the ‘Kick it Out Campaign’
Eleanor Longden – Doctoral Researcher and Intervoice Activiist
Bill McKnight – Poet, Author of ‘Loud Silence’

I hope I will be able to attend this myself.

Today I met with members of the group Speak Out Against Psychiatry and would like to point out that I am proud to attend regular meetings with the former patients who are an inspiration to me and I commend their bravery in speaking out despite suffering through shocking “care”. I think the group could play an important role in educating but also in much needed peer support.

In terms of “Stigma”, as a mother of 2 daughters, I am not ashamed to tell the world my experience – the more openness the better as this can override any stigma. I believe many are being wrongly labelled without any proof especially those who have suffered abuse, bullying and trauma – professionals are quick to push drug after drug without proper assessments and the drugs can have a devasting effect on some people.

Anyway, I would like to attend this event myself if I can. I believe it is they – the professionals who are responsible for causing stigma through labelling someone and I would be delighted to tell them all to their faces how I as a mother feel. I know for a fact my elder daughter gave up and lost hope altogether after being labelled with Schizophrenia – where is the proof of this when she did not have a proper assessment at the Bethlem.

A professional social worker who came out with the words “she would be more comfortable with her own kind” – is guilty of causing stigma in the most patronising manner.

I believe the press/media can cause stigma as they portray mental health patients in far from a decent manner which causes ignorance amongst the public.

Then you get some of the charities themselves constantly going on about stigma when they should be looking at alternative care instead in my opinion.
I think they make matters worse and should instead be focussing on campaigning for choice in care, an end to forced drugging and inclusion rather than exclusion. By doing nothing apart from going on and on about stigma they are making matters worse and should be doing something more constructive.

Some carers feel afraid to speak out because they feel affected by stigma however I as a mother feel differently as I believe that mental illness can affect anyone and I can see where all the care is wrong and where it needs to be improved.

Anyway I spoke to Elizabeth yesterday. She sounded OK but spoke of feeling confused and mixed up but then that is no wonder on the volume of drugs sheis currently on. Elizabeth is awaiting a visit from the rest of the family this week and I am hoping to have a meeting to discuss the way forward myself.It is crucial that Elizabeth gets the right placement this time and especially being a long way from home. I believe therapeutic communities are the way forward for some and may benefit Elizabeth so she can regain her confidence. This will never happen in hospital – it is the wrong environment for Elizabeth. I think it is harmful of a team to influence the person they care for against a family member in such a personal way like they have done with me. Elizabeth has always wanted family mediation but now it looks as though I may have to get a mediator myself just to communicate with the team, especially in light of what happened with the Tribunal and to think, the entire team knew about the date set for the tribunal except for myself, my solicitor and Elizabeth’s independent doctor. It was a good job I found out! – some of the staff could not conceal their shock when I confronted them on this. Now this has thankfully been cancelled by my solicitors as I as Nearest Relative will need to attend and also the sister of Elizabeth wishes to give her statements. Even if the team do not like me they have no right to deny her sister the opportunity to give her statement.

Anyway turning to the missing supplements which should have been used by the Bethlem to help in the reduction of the drugs (which Professor Murray himself promised in his letter) it is only right that these should be replaced and the Bethlem have not refused as they cannot find a trace of these to their credit.

However I have yet to hear such a satisfactory outcome from Cambian about the missing oils -(a young nurse who I remember as being very nice from the Bethlem remembers them being packed) so now I want to know where they are as they were very beneficial to Elizabeth and they should be replaced “the only thing that helps me Mum are the oils” – that says it all! I must get on to the Head office next week that is if I do not have any satisfactory response from Wales.

I must also phone and speak to Dr Walsh himself as I am keen to get the correct treatment in place having had the test results done.

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