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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 48 (2006) 8, 637 - 645

Essay

Towards a treatment law?

J.A.G. van Opstal, S. Lammers

Under the current Dutch law on special admissions to psychiatric hospitals (Bopz) it is possible to detain a patient who is a danger to himself and others. The Bopz, however, makes hardly any provision for compulsory treatment. Many psychiatrists regard this as an inherent shortcoming of the law. Members of the public, too, are becoming increasingly concerned by the fact that a seriously ill patient can, subject to strict criteria, be detained compulsorily but cannot thereafter be compelled to undergo treatment. The legislature has recently made some amendments to the Bopz law. The main goals is to widen its scope, making the law more flexible with regard to compulsory admission and compulsory treatment. In this article we discuss these amendments and new developments and by referring to case law we investigate whether these changes increase the possibilities for compulsory treatment. We conclude that at the moment they do not.

keywords Bopz, compulsory treatment, dangerous behavior