Mental Health Act 1983 — [Ms Karen Buck in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:20 pm on 25th July 2019.

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Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 3:20 pm, 25th July 2019

I cannot give the hon. Gentleman a straightforward answer to that question but I will write to him with a commitment. It is very boring, but Brexit has diverted officials in the Department. Obviously, no-deal preparations in the health service are a matter of public concern, so we need to make them, but we still need to get on with business as usual. It is an important issue.

Barbara Keeley mentioned the case of Matthew Leahy. I will go away and reflect on that, but I will give the same message as I gave in response to Seni’s law. Generally, we need to get a proper grip on how we learn from deaths that happen when somebody is in the state’s care, because that is clearly unacceptable. We have coronial reports of all those occasions. People should not be waiting the length of time that they are waiting for inquests. When inquests happen, again, there is usually representation from the various institutions involved and the family can be left feeling very under-represented against a mass of organisations trying to avoid liability. We need to tackle that properly.

We have had those discussions at the ministerial board. My ministerial colleagues in other Departments and I want to get a grip on how we properly hoist in the learnings from coronial reports. I look forward to engaging with hon. Members on that, but I will write to the hon. Lady specifically on the issue of Matthew Leahy. It is worth noting that we are looking at the principles of sexual safety in wards, which is not just about getting rid of mixed-sex wards. People are very vulnerable in those situations and it is all about the care regime.