Mental Health Bill [HL]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 19th February 2007.

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Photo of Lord Turnberg Lord Turnberg Labour 3:45 pm, 19th February 2007

My Lords, I apologise for not having spoken in Committee but I was unavoidably elsewhere. I will just say one or two words of support for the principle of having principles on the face of the Bill. It would be invaluable to have them there, for all the reasons that have been rehearsed here, both today and previously.

However, I have one or two concerns about these particular principles. My first concern relates to the phrase,

"present and past wishes and feelings of the patient".

Of course, the feelings of patients are vitally important. My difficulty is how to define those on the face of the Bill. I wonder whether the words "and feelings" are helpful.

My other concern relates to the referral to the other Acts. Presumably the other Acts are all in force. I am unclear whether it is essential to have referrals to those Acts in the Bill because, presumably, someone would be acting illegally if they contravened, for example, the Sex Discrimination Act irrespective of whether or not it is mentioned in this Bill. I wonder whether those Acts should be there.

I hope my noble friend will take into account the strength of feeling around the House.