New Clause 12 — Impaired decision making
Orders of the Day
Tim Loughton (Shadow Minister (Children), Health; East Worthing and Shoreham, Conservative)
I would say to them that it is a tragedy, and that if suitable services had been available for their loved ones, some of those suicides—never all—might have been avoided. I would also say that is not the job of legislation to make up for the poor availability of services or for inappropriate services. Moreover, there is no evidence that the inclusion of an impaired decision-making clause would reduce or increase the number of people under compulsory treatment in any case. The hon. Gentleman must also consider how the legislation is currently framed, and the fear that patients who retain some capacity might have in presenting to services if they think that they are then much more likely to be subject to sectioning and to have their own wishes, knowledge and experience overridden. They might not present to those services at all, and would therefore not get any help from them. Their condition might fester under the clinical radar and, as a result, they could be even more likely to commit suicide or to commit some harm against members of the public.
The hon. Gentleman has no evidence to back up the prognosis he is putting forward —[Interruption]—just as I have no evidence otherwise, as the Minister rightly says. It is a fine line, but surely the point is that it is better to encourage and entice people to engage with those services. Offering a framework that respects their integrity and their wishes when they retain the capacity to have sensible wishes is surely more desirable than saying that their wishes will be overridden, simply because the legislation does not accommodate them.