Mental Health Bill [Lords]
Rosie Winterton (Minister of State (Health Services), Department of Health; Doncaster Central, Labour)
As long as they have the capacity to consent, then it applies to all children.
Amendment No. 9 proposes changes in relation to ECT for patients under the age of 18. I assume that new section 58B is intended to apply instead of new section 58A. I believe that the drafting means that the provisions in new sections 58A and B would apply to detained patients under 18.
Amendment No. 9 would also apply to patients under 18 who are not liable under the Mental Health Act 1983 to detention in hospital, to whom I will refer as informal patients. As many hon. Members have said, particularly my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, North, ECT is a very invasive treatment, but as other hon. Members have conceded, its use in treating child patients is rare, and there is no reason to think that that will change.
In the past three years, the Mental Health Act Commission has heard only nine requests to give ECT to patients under 18. Two patients were refusing the treatment, while seven were not capable of giving consent. Of those seven, only five were certified by the SOAD for treatment. In addition to the nine, one request was made for a SOAD to consider allowing an under-18 to be given ECT and medication.
None the less, despite the rarity of ECT, my noble Friend Baroness Royall said during the Bill’s passage through the other place that the Government would consider additional safeguards for children regarding treatments that come within the scope of section 58A. We are still considering what issues were raised in the other place and examining some of the complexities, and are not quite ready to set out our conclusions.