The Lord Carter
Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Draft Mental
House of Lords
London SW1A 0PW
Dear Lord Carter,
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.
With best wishes,
Professor The Baroness Finaly of Llandaff