Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [HL] - Committee (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 22nd October 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Murphy Baroness Murphy Crossbench 6:30 pm, 22nd October 2018

My Lords, I am the world’s greatest pragmatist in this matter. I am very sympathetic to what the noble Baronesses, Lady Barker and Lady Tyler, are saying. This Bill is by no means perfect. It has huge gaps and we would not have started from here, but the reality is that this Bill will be with us for the rest of the autumn and I believe that Sir Simon Wessely’s report will be submitted to the Government around 12 December, so it is likely to come before Third Reading and before we finish the Bill. We will be able to see if there are great big gaps. I do not think the two things will overlap very much. We might be helped out, particularly on amendments on advanced directives, and in that context we can perhaps make ourselves closer to what Sir Simon Wessely recommends, but I do not think there is anything to address, except that the current Bill is not working. We have all those people waiting for an assessment who will never be assessed. We need some legislation in place. There is some urgency. I know we would like a perfect Bill, but we are not going to get one. What we need is an implementable Bill which makes assessments doable for people who need them and so that we can get some process in place. The Bill is not perfect. We would not start from here, but we have this Bill and we should continue with it.