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Ethics briefing
  1. Sophie Brannan,
  2. Ruth Campbell,
  3. Martin Davies,
  4. Veronica English,
  5. Rebecca Mussell,
  6. Julian C Sheather
  1. Medical Ethics and Human Rights, British Medical Association, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Martin Davies, Medical Ethics and Human Rights, British Medical Association, London WC1H 9JP, UK; mdavies{at}bma.org.uk

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BMA report on health and human rights in immigration detention

The British Medical Association (BMA) has published a new report on health and human rights in immigration detention in the UK.

Locked up, locked out outlines how aspects of current detention policies and practices are detrimental to the health of those detained and the challenges doctors face in providing healthcare in the immigration detention setting. It makes a number of recommendations aimed at addressing policy and practice which impact on health and well-being, including calling for an end to the routine use of detention as a means of monitoring those facing removal from the UK and for the introduction of a time limit on the length of time individuals can be detained. It also provides guidance for doctors working in these settings on some of the common ethical and professional dilemmas they may face.

The report can be accessed and downloaded at www.bma.org.uk/immigrationdetention.

The government is to review mental health legislation in England and Wales

The Government has announced its intention to review mental health legislation (the 1983 Mental Health Act, as amended) for England and, in relation to non-devolved issues, for Wales.1

The Government states that it is ‘committed to delivering parity of esteem between mental and physical health’, although it does not clarify the meaning of ‘parity of esteem’. Similarly, the Government states that it wants to ensure that people with mental health problems ‘are treated with dignity, and that their liberty and autonomy is respected as far as possible’. Again, the Government has not indicated the meaning of ‘as far as possible’.

Although not directly mentioned in the review’s terms of reference, it must be set against the background of changing legal and ethical expectations in relation to the rights of those with mental or cognitive disorders and disabilities. The UK is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with …

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