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Mental Capacity Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:30 pm on 25th January 2005.

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Photo of Baroness Warnock Baroness Warnock Crossbench 2:30 pm, 25th January 2005

I am sorry not to have intervened before, but I am in the process of losing my voice. One further difficulty that I find about "motivation", apart from the obvious legal distinction between "motive" and "intent", is that overall the motivation of the clinician who seeks the best interests of the patient, with all the help that he can get, is the motivation of compassion. That point has been made frequently, and I entirely agree with it. That is the clinician's motive; and to say that he is not,

"motivated by a desire to bring about his death", seems to me all right, as long as it is not taken in the ordinary legal sense of "motive". But the clinician has a motive to bring about a patient's death if that is what the patient has perhaps originally put in the will—that in these circumstances, this is when the patient would like to die. But also the motivation is a desire to relieve the patient of extra suffering that would be imposed by futile extra treatment. That is another reason why I feel dubious about "motivation" in this context.