Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Incapacity Bill Minutes of Evidence

11.Memorandum from Professor the Baroness Finlay of Llandaff (MIB 1186)

  I am aware that your joint committee will shortly be considering the Mental Incapacity Bill.

  As you may be aware, I have tabled an amendment to the Patients' Protection Bill, introduced By the Noble Baroness, Lady Knight. This amendment should hopefully be incorporated at third reading. It concerns incapacity and I hope it is compatible with the draft Mental Incapacity Bill.

  I would be grateful if you could confirm to me that, in the event of the definitions being amended in the Mental Incapacity Bill, the wording would then also automatically amend the Patient's Protection Bill. This will be important to ensure we do not end up with more than one legal definition for clinicians.

I am most grateful to you for your advice.

  I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss with your committee the problems of incapacity in the seriously medically ill and particularly in the terminally ill patients. There may be issues around the workability, as you alluded to in the themes to the scope of enquiry on the Bill. I have particular concerns over legally binding advance directives in patients whose levels of competence rapidly fluctuate and are difficult to assess. I do hope I can be of assistance.

August 2003

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