Extent, commencement and short title

Part of Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 22nd January 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care) 2:45 pm, 22nd January 2019

I thank hon. Members for initiating this discussion. Amendment 52 would delay the introduction of liberty protection safeguards until the Department has fully responded to the report of the independent review into the Mental Health Act.

The hon. Member for Worsley and Eccles South said that I was stubborn. I am sure that a number of people, not least my husband, would agree with that sentiment. I think she would agree that I have committed to looking again. A number of issues have been raised during the Bill’s passage through Committee, not least ensuring that people get information as early as possible—I agree with her on that—and how we can maximise protection for those being cared for in an independent hospital. I am sure she would agree that I would be being equally stubborn if I were to take the amendments on board without giving them careful and due consideration, and without checking the legal ramifications and making sure that we are offering all the protections that we need to. I am sure that the hon. Lady, other Opposition Members and stakeholders will forgive me for making sure that we consider everything thoroughly and properly.

On amendment 52, I welcome Sir Simon Wessely’s landmark report and I am sure that it will very much set the direction for improving the way the Mental Health Act works for thousands of vulnerable people. The Government have already committed to bringing forth mental health legislation when parliamentary time allows, taking that very important report into account. We have already accepted two important recommendations, which will give service users more choice and control, but it will take time for us to consider the rest of the recommendations, of which there are 152. We will respond to the remaining recommendations in due course, but Sir Simon said that the Government would need to consider the “practical implications” of the interface recommendations, and that it would be “problematic” to introduce those recommendations in this Bill.

Hon. Members will be aware that the reforms in the Bill are desperately needed—I cannot repeat often enough that we cannot wait any longer to improve the situation of the backlog of more than 125,000 people who have been deprived of their liberty without authorisation. As much as there are concerns among stakeholders—I have met a number of stakeholders and we will continue to consult them, to take their views on board and to make sure that we work with them at every step of the way when it comes to the code of practice—they also share our concern that 125,000 people have been deprived of their liberty without authorisation, that their loved ones have been deprived of peace of mind and that their care providers have been deprived of legal protection.