45.Memorandum from the Association of
Catholic Women (MIB 09)
On behalf of members of the Association of Catholic
Women, we are writing to express our concerns about the proposals
in the Draft Mental Incapacity Bill.
1. LIVING WILLS
If Living Wills, so-called, were to have legal
status, the possibility for treatment of the will writer will
be frozen. Between the writing of the will and the occasion of
its enactment, medical knowledge might have moved on, and cure
or mitigation of the condition might be possible. Furthermore,
we can envisage occasions where someone who has mandated denial
of treatment should a particular circumstance arise, might well
change his or her mind when the circumstances in question arose,
if their mental capacity allowed them to do.
2. LASTING POWER
As we understand it, Lasting Power of Attorney
will give those appointed to look after the interests of a mentally
incapacitated patient power over healthcare decisions, as well
as money matters. This is to allocate very large powers to the
Attorney. If the "best interests" of the patient are
not seen as including hydration and nutrition, it will mean that
the Attorney has power of life and death over the patient.
3. ORDINARY NURSING
Medical treatment seeks to cure or alleviate
a medical condition which denies the patient ordinary good health.
It seeks to remedy something something which is wrong with the
patient. Nutrition and hydration are essential for life, tout
court. However good a person's health, he or she will die without
them. The manner in which they are administered does not alter
what they are. They are not medication. They form part of ordinary
nursing care, vital for survival. Whether mentally capable or
not, each of us has a right to receive such care, even if the
administration of drugs is unlikely to benefit us.
Finally, we regret that the request for comments
on the Draft Mental Incapacity Bill has come in August when so
many people are away. The importance of this draft bill is such
that we would respectfully ask for an extension of the time for
We very much hope that our comments will be
taken into consideration.