Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Incapacity Bill Written Evidence

83.Memorandum from My Life Choice Association (MIB 777)

  We are a self-advocacy group made up of people with learning difficulties. We have talked about the draft Incapacity Bill in our local groups and at our Open Meeting in July. We are worried about the bill; this is what people have said:

    "This law is a problem, lots of deaf people with learning difficulties will have a big problem with their choices and rights. Also, black and Asian people with learning difficulties and deaf/blind people with learning difficulties."

    "People with learning difficulties should have the power to make difficult choices."

    "Who has the money? People with learning difficulties pay Social Services to look after us, so we should have the control to make decisions."

    "This law will not encourage people to find different ways of communicating with people with learning difficulties."

    "Advocates CAN be good IF they listen, really get to know the person and get good information about a decision."

    "The fact of life is that a lot of carers, etc are not good at listening or finding different ways to communicate. Will this Bill mean a quick way to make a decision for someone that is more about what the carer, etc wants?"

    "The title is bad. It is hard to understand and is negative. It should be called something positive, like `decision making.'"

    "They should never separate a baby from its mother, even if the mother can't speak."

    "This Bill may get rushed through, which means people get pushed out!"

    "The Government should have asked people like us what we think FIRST."

    "There hasn't been enough time for us to give feedback, ideas, etc."

    "It makes us worried about our rights."

  We unsure about what the law would mean to people:

    "Will it become an easy way for people with learning difficulties to be told, `you will do this?

    "What happens if someone makes a decision you don't agree with?"

  We had some positive comments about the bill:

    "This Bill may help those people who are unable to make some decisions, who otherwise would be unable to get on in life."

    "We would like to talk to people about the Bill like someone from Parliament."

    "It writes down that you need to put effort into asking people with learning difficulties what they think."

    "In our lives, people shouldn't do it, but should support us to do it."

  We hope that you will listen to our comments and think about our concerns carefully.

August 2003

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