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Section 4 — Short Title and Commencement

Part of Mental Health (Public Safety and Appeals) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 2 – in the Scottish Parliament at 5:15 pm on 8th September 1999.

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Photo of David McLetchie David McLetchie Conservative 5:15 pm, 8th September 1999

There is no definition of medical treatment in the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 1984. As the issue of treatability lies at the heart of the decisions in the Reid and Ruddle cases, the purpose of this amendment is to explore why the Executive does not consider it desirable to incorporate such a definition in the bill when, as we now know from the response to the previous group of amendments, it did consider it necessary to amend the definition of mental disorder.

Dr Richard Simpson made a particularly authoritative contribution to this debate. I was fascinated to hear his description of the boundaries between the treatment and management of patients and the way in which in many respects-if I understood him correctly-the boundaries merge.

The purpose of this amendment is to seek to make it clear that medical treatment should be held to include "the provision of support and counselling aimed at preventing any deterioration or relapse in the patient's mental disorder".

It is arguable that had the sheriff been required to consider the issue of treatability in those terms he might have arrived at a different decision in the Ruddle case. If so, it would be desirable for medical treatment to be considered in that wider context in future cases that come before the courts.

I move amendment 32.