Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [HL] - Commons Amendments

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 26th February 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 4:45 pm, 26th February 2019

I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in this debate, which has reflected the genuinely constructive way in which this section of the Bill has already been improved. I join the chorus of thanks to my noble friend Lord O’Shaughnessy and the Minister, Caroline Dinenage, for the extensive work that they have done on the Bill so far. I will not speak for too long, as I have already outlined the Government’s position on these amendments. However, I would like to answer a few of the questions.

The noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, asked whether liberty protection safeguards would be extended to people in domestic settings rather than them going to the Court of Protection. I am happy to confirm that liberty protection safeguards will apply to community settings, including domestic settings. I think that people and their families and carers will welcome this, as the court process is slow, costly and very intimidating for many. The Bill will achieve greater protections for people than the current deprivation of liberty system.

The noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, raised some important questions, particularly about speech and language therapists. As she points out, they will play a very important role in the new system. They will definitely be involved in consultation. The regulations that will come forward will determine their exact role in implementation, whether as AMCPs or in another specific role.

The noble Baroness also asked about portability. An authorisation can apply to different settings so that it can travel with a person but cannot be varied to apply to completely new settings once it has been made, as this would undermine Article 5. I hope that this clarifies that point.

The noble Baroness also asked whether or not care managers can determine care assessments. Care homes are explicitly prevented from completing care assessments. I think I made this point, but I re-emphasise it. This comes back to the points made by the noble Baronesses, Lady Thornton and Lady Barker. As I outlined at the outset, AMCPs are independent of the responsible body and accountable to their professional bodies. I repeat that the Government have amended the Bill here specifically to ensure that those with the proscribed connection to care homes cannot complete assessments needed for authorisation or pre-authorisation review, to ensure that there is no conflict in the process. These amendments clarify that the proscribed connection will be set out in regulations. Because there is a conflict of interest, we will ensure that care managers are not put in the position of having to decide whether or not a person lacks capacity or the proposed arrangements are valid. I hope that this reassures noble Lords and that the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, will not press her amendment. I beg to move.

Motion on Amendment 3 agreed.