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Mental Capacity Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 1st February 2005.

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Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe Shadow Minister, Family, Shadow Minister, Health 5:15 pm, 1st February 2005

Before we bid farewell to Clause 30 there is one issue on which I hope that the Minister can be of assistance. The noble Lord was kind enough to write to me and others last month, setting out some of the Government's thinking on this part of the Bill and relating these provisions to the corresponding provisions in the Human Tissue Act and the clinical trials regulations. I thank him for doing that, as I found his letter most helpful.

He said in his letter, rightly, that it was essential for the various elements of the legislative framework for research on mentally incapacitated people to be mutually consistent and to march together in harmony. I have compared the three sets of provisions and they seem, to me at least, to sit comfortably with each other. However, can the Minister say whether he and his department are entirely satisfied on that question? He mentioned that Ministers were looking at the possibility of amending the clinical trials regulations to enable research in emergencies to proceed. That is a provision that we shall shortly debate in the Bill. It would be useful to hear whether that is the only adjustment that the Government are contemplating and when those regulations are likely to come forward. Can the Minister say when the Government expect to bring forward regulations under the relevant provisions of the Human Tissue Act in relation to storage and use of tissue from mentally-incapacitated patients?