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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 Jim Wallace Jim Wallace Liberal Democrat 5:15 pm, 8th September 1999

Mr McLetchie has explained why he wishes a definition of medical treatment to be included in the bill. I can assure him that medical treatment is already defined in section 125 of the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 1984. It "includes nursing, and also includes care and training under medical supervision".

With regard to the Reid case, which may not have been referred to today but was referred to in our debates last week, the House of Lords gave medical treatment a wide definition. For example, Lord Hope held that "Medication or other psychiatric treatment which is designed to alleviate or prevent a deterioration of the mental disorder plainly falls within the scope of the expression".

He then went on to say:

"But I think that its scope is wide enough to include other things which are done for either of those two purposes under medical supervision in the State Hospital. It is also wide enough to include treatment which alleviates or prevents a deterioration of the symptoms of the mental disorder, not the disorder itself which gives rise to them."

That definition encompasses the treatment referred to in the amendment and it is current law. The Millan committee will consider that issue during its review of the 1984 act, and it would be wrong to pre-empt its conclusions in this emergency bill. This amendment is unnecessary, and it could pre-empt some of the Millan committee's work. I hope that given my explanation, Mr McLetchie will feel able to withdraw his amendment.