Reply to our joint letter asking the Prime Minister to reconsider her decision to appoint Simon Wessely to lead the independent review into the Mental Health Act

We have now received a letter in response to our concerns from the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt. As requested by the Secretary of State we are sharing this letter with all co-signatories. We will be monitoring how the review takes place and supporting Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations to respond.

Picture of the end of a letter from Jeremy Hunt with his signature

Dear supporter,

Thank you for signing up in support of the joint letter asking the Prime Minister to reconsider her decision to appoint Simon Wessely to lead the independent review into the Mental Health Act.

We have now received a letter in response to our concerns from the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt. You can find attached both a scanned copy of the letter and a copy that has been converted to Word.

Download: Letter from Jeremy Hunt – PDF Scan

Download: Letter from Jeremy Hunt – word version

The Government will not reconsider their decision to appoint Wessely because they say he is “one of the most widely respected and experienced leaders this country has in the field of mental health.”

By way of reassurance the letter says that “Professor Wessely will be assisted by three vice chairs who have a variety of experience, and will be consulting widely with stakeholders as part of the review process.” The letter also says that the Government is “absolutely committed to delivering parity of esteem between mental and physical health” and wants “to ensure that people experiencing severe mental ill health receive the treatment and support they need when they need it, are treated with dignity, and that their liberty and autonomy is respected as far as possible.”

In page 2 of the letter Jeremy Hunt assures us that “On the subject of the management of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) and the PACE trial, which examined the benefits of certain treatments, including graded exercise therapy, I do understand that this is an illness that can have a serious impact on people’s health and wellbeing.”

As requested by the Secretary of State we are sharing this letter with all co-signatories. However we remain disappointed that Wessely has been chosen to lead the review. We will be monitoring how the review takes place and supporting Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations to respond.