I'm now enclosing a draft follow-up letter (please click links below) for the Mental Health Act Review Chair and Vice Chairs. I've drawn on suggestions which a number of you made for this next letter after I mentioned the problem meeting which NSUN had with the Review Chair and Vice Chairs on 13th July. Thank you so much for your continuing support, which is hugely valuable.
I'm enclosing a large print copy of the letter as well and will also be including an easy read copy in my email to people with learning difficulties/disabilities.
The overwhelming number of people who replied expressed a preference for option (ii) at the end of the notes about the meeting with the Chair and Vice Chairs on 13th July (re-enclosed), so I've tried to word the letter accordingly.
You'll notice a reference in the letter to important legal changes in Peru which are just happening. These are very exciting in human rights terms, so I've mentioned them in the recommendations as an example to follow.
In the end, I haven't put together a separate letter for leaders of the main political parties and All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs). I think it's going to make more sense just to include the following points in emails to them:
· What NSUN is (i.e. a user-led organisation) and reference to the fact that the majority of co-signatories are user-led organisations, people with lived experience and allies
· Mention of the fact that we've been very concerned about the approach being taken to the MHA Review (with a copy of NSUN's original letter attached to explain why)
· The fact that we've tried to discuss our concerns with the Mental Health Act Review Chair and Vice Chairs, but have not received satisfactory responses
· A copy of the current letter to explain why we found the responses unsatisfactory and so remain concerned
· The fact that it now seems important to approach politicians too with our concerns (with wording here adapted to fit the particular recipient) and our hope that we will now receive their support.
Any suggestions about the letter for the Review Chair and Vice Chair, or the email points for politicians would be very welcome.
Also, Simon Wessely, the Review Chair, is currently putting pressure on everyone to support the limited legal changes due to be recommended by the Review. (These fall well short of the full human rights set out in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, of course.) He is arguing that otherwise Parliament is unlikely to support Review recommendations which are intended at least to make things better for service users, particularly linking this with the fact that there is no one party in overall power. If anyone has ideas about wording in the letter which would address this point, it would be helpful to know.
Closing date for suggestions to me about the draft letter and/or about points to include in the email to politicians and APPGs: 12 noon next Monday, 17th September.
Thanking you so much again for your support