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Time is very limited this evening, but I want briefly to return to an issue that I did not have time properly to probe on Second Reading: the question of people with learning disabilities and autistic people whose rights are at risk as a consequence of the Bill. As someone who has campaigned on the “Transforming Care” agenda and the Government’s failure to implement it over many years, I know that there are people the autism community and among those who support people with learning disabilities who are very worried that the Bill could result in further unnecessary admissions to hospital. This could happen both indirectly, through the withdrawal of support for autistic people and people with learning disabilities, resulting in a higher incidence of crisis, and directly, through provisions in the Bill that make it easier for people to be detained.
Any institutional setting where large numbers of people live together has increased risk of covid-19 spreading. Families who have battled for years to get their loved ones out of hospital are very frightened that the Bill could mean that their loved ones end up being detained once again, and that if this happens they might also fall victim to covid-19. Once again, I want to seek assurance from the Secretary of State for those families that their loved ones will not end up once again in settings that have been traumatising in the past and where abuse has taken place, as a consequence of the Bill.