Extent, commencement and short title

Part of Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 22nd January 2019.

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Photo of Barbara Keeley Barbara Keeley Shadow Minister (Mental Health and Social Care) 3:00 pm, 22nd January 2019

Going back to amendment 52, the process of bringing the Bill forward has been disappointing. It has been rushed and stakeholders feel that their views have not been taken on board. How do we know that that is the case? A letter was published in The Times today under the headline “Mental Capacity Bill Attracts Criticism” from a group of organisations including Liberty, Mind, Alzheimer’s Society, the National Autistic Society, POhWER—to which we have referred a number of times in our debates—the British Institute of Human Rights, Sense, Compassion in Dying, YoungMinds, Learning Disability England, Voluntary Organisations Disability Group and Headway—a very comprehensive list of organisations. They say:

“It is with dismay that we note the lack of improvement within the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill. The bill would replace existing deprivation of liberty safeguards with an entirely unfit new system of protection. To avoid the risk of exploitation and abuse it is vital that there are robust safeguards in place.

Alarmingly, the bill proposes to triple the time that people can be deprived of their liberty without review…while not doing enough to guarantee that all patients have access to independent and impartial advocates.”

This is what we have been debating.

The letter continues:

“The bill also creates a worrying conflict of interest for care home managers, giving them a greater role in the assessment process. Many vulnerable people will find it hard to express their concerns to a person providing them with care. The result is a rushed, incomplete and unworkable bill that will replace one dysfunctional system with another”.

That encapsulates everything that we have been trying to say.