Schedule to be inserted as Schedule AA1 to the Mental Capacity Act 2005

Part of Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 15th January 2019.

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Photo of Barbara Keeley Barbara Keeley Shadow Minister (Mental Health and Social Care) 10:30 am, 15th January 2019

I think it is worth quickly winding up on the Opposition’s three amendments. As I said earlier, it was right to extend the liberty protection safeguards to 16 and 17-year-olds, and some very helpful points on that have been made by my hon. Friends. I ask the Minister to accept that it introduces a new process to authorise a young person’s deprivation of liberty. We stick to the view that the AMCP’s conducting a pre-authorisation review for 16 and 17-year-olds is absolutely vital.

I ask the Minister to reflect on the points that emerged in the discussion of Opposition amendment 37. Some 4,670 DoLS applications came in from mental health establishments. Of those, 305 did not meet the qualifying requirements. Those people should not have been deprived of their liberty where they were. Given the backlog of DoLS assessments, there might be a larger number than the ones we know about. We need to reflect on the fact that mental health detention is one of the most restrictive under the liberty protection safeguards, which we should take into account. Evidence has been put to us that there is a serious risk of unlawful detention and excessive restriction. Although we want to deal with that through the new process, we do not want people to be detained unlawfully.

Our amendment means that a review will be required for 16 and 17-year-olds where physical restraint, sedation or covert medication is used. The Minister and the Secretary of State are instigating reviews on this, as are other Committees of the House: there is an ongoing review by the Joint Committee on Human Rights. There are really serious concerns and we have to be specific, but we cannot do that without a code of practice, which we have not seen.

On restrictions on contact, my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham North and I talked about cases in which parents are banned from visiting—they are just not allowed to visit, which is totally unacceptable. There should be a review where there is a less restrictive option for the cared-for person’s care or residence. We should reflect on the well-known case of Stephen Neary, which I mentioned. He was kept unlawfully for a year, which should not happen.