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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 Lord Turnberg Lord Turnberg Labour 5:15 pm, 1st February 2005

My reason for moving the amendment is that there are several complications which occur in patients who lack capacity, which are associated with, or attributable to, their lack of capacity, but which do not directly affect the mind or the brain. It is equally as important to research those areas as it is to research the conditions that only affect the mind or the brain.

I shall give some examples. First, a patient brought into hospital after a head injury sustained in, say, a motor car accident, may have multiple injuries which require research. Secondly, patients in coma after a stroke may be particularly susceptible to infection and their immune systems may be awry. The reasons for that need to be examined, while a search is made for a treatment which may combat or prevent the complications.

Patients who go into hospital after a heart attack may lose consciousness, but the research that is needed will be on the heart, the circulation, the lungs and the kidneys—all of which may be affected. There are many other examples of disorders which affect only incapacitated patients, but do not involve the mind or the brain in any direct manner.

I hope that I have said enough to convince my noble friend of this matter. I should say that it is possible that the same end may be achieved by Amendment No. 104, tabled by the noble Earl, Lord Howe, so I am not wedded to my own amendment, as one can achieve the same ends in different ways. I beg to move.