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Mental Capacity Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:00 pm on 1st February 2005.

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Photo of Baroness Barker Baroness Barker Social Services, Non-Departmental & Cross-Departmental Responsibilities 9:00 pm, 1st February 2005

I should like to speak to Amendment No. 128A, which drives at the same point that the noble Earl, Lord Howe, has raised. On balance, I probably prefer the wording of his amendment to mine, so in the highly unlikely event that we succeed with this one, I shall give way to the noble Earl.

During the Report stage of the Bill in another place the Minister said:

"I can confirm that the Bill will not prevent a genetic test for a familiar cancer, for example, that might not be essential to P's medical care but would provide considerable benefit to some other family member.

"Similarly, HIV testing would be lawful if there were a needlestick injury to a nurse involved in P's care and if a timely diagnosis of HIV status would be in P's best interests, so that treatment could be started".—[Hansard, Commons, 14/12/04; col. 1601.]

The point about which the BMA is concerned—in my view it is right to be concerned—is that it is not yet clear whether these kinds of tests could be made only where there was a clear direct benefit to P rather than to a third party. My fear is that where third parties have a legitimate concern they might end up manufacturing reasons to get the result that they need. I hope that the Minister will respond to that.