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Revamp for mental health services

People with mental health and learning problems in Northern Ireland are to be given greater support in the future, the province's health minister has said.

Michael McGimpsey delivered the pledge after a report was published calling for the laws protecting some of the province's most vulnerable people to be revamped.

The Bamford Review said any new mental health legislation should safeguard people's rights and dignity, while ensuring that they have access to suitable care and treatment.

Mr McGimpsey said: "I am committed to improving the services and supports that are needed for people of all ages with a mental health problem or a learning disability.

"I have established a Mental Health and Learning Disability Board to act as champions for people with mental health and learning disabilities.

"The challenges are to establish strategies and sustain action which will improve the mental wellbeing of the whole community, prevent mental ill-health and improve support to carers."

Learning disability charity Mencap urged the authorities to act quickly.

Alan Sheeran, Northern Ireland campaigns manager, said: "We feel that the focus needs to be on delivery and getting the legislation right.

"The Mental Capacity Act has been in place in Great Britain from 2005.

"We believe that it is important to watch these developments carefully so that we can assess how these are working on the ground in Great Britain.

"This should place us in a strong position to move forward quickly and efficiently in Northern Ireland."

Mencap in Northern Ireland

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