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January 2005

December 2004

**Mental Capacity Bill passes 3rd Reading**

The Making Decisions Alliance is pleased that the Mental Capacity Bill was passed in the House of Commons at its 3rd Reading last week although believe that the Government could have handled the debate considerably more effectively, which became dominated by the issue of advance refusals of treatment and end of life decisions.

The MDA welcomes indications by Government that there will be greater emphasis in the Bill on ensuring that nothing in it authorises any act to be carried out on someone who lacks capacity where the motive of the person taking the decision is to end life and that advance refusals of treatment would normally have to be in writing, although we have not seen details of theses proposed amendments to the Bill.

The MDA and MDA member organisations received considerable TV and radio coverage on the day the Bill was debated and the MDA was also referred to by the Prime Minister at Question Time as being in support of the Bill.

However the MDA still believe that the Bill should be amended further to expand and improve the rights for people who may lack capacity. In particular we will continue to press government and lobby the House of Lords to amend the role of the independent consultee to ensure that it will perform a proper advocacy role and that it will be expanded to cover people who do have families or other informal carers to ensure that they also benefit from the unique and important function that advocacy fulfils. We will also press the Government and the Lords to include advance statements on the Bill whereby people can make requests in advance for the care and treatment they would like to receive should they no longer have capacity, and to include an ‘equal consideration’ clause to ensure that decisions about someone’s care and treatment are made no less favourably because their lives are seen to be of less value because they have a disability or are an older person. For more details on these amendments and other areas where we believe the Bill can be improved please look at our 3rd Reading Briefing (in PDF format, 9 pages, 120KB).

You can also look at the debate that took place in the House of Commons at:

Debate on the Bill in the House of Lords is due to begin when Parliament returns in the week commencing the 10th January.

I would also like to take this opportunity on behalf of myself and fellow MDA Co-Chair, Richard Kramer, to thank you all for your support over the last year.

Wishing you well for 2005.

Toby Williamson

MDA Co-Chair & Head of Policy, Mental Health Foundation

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December 2004

The latest version of the Mental Capacity Bill can be found at:

It is due to go to Report in the House of Commons on Tuesday 14th December. While we still believe that the Bill can be significantly improved in a number of areas we are concerned that the debate may again get diverted onto the issue of euthanasia to the potential detriment of its parliamentary progress.

We are therefore actively encouraging you as MDA member organisations, particularly any members of the MDA who have not written to MPs thus far, or as individuals, to write to MPs (or your own MP) to express your support for the Bill on the basis that it does not change the law on euthanasia and is potentially of benefit in providing a legal framework for supporting people to make decisions for themselves or to protect people who lack capacity who are having decisions made on their behalf. You may wish to state how it will potentially help people you work with, or for you or others you know as individuals.

The MDA is continuing to lobby for further amendments to the Bill, in particular concerning more widespread availability of advocacy, non-discrimination in decision-making, and similar legal status being given, where reasonable, to advance statements requesting professional care and treatment (including life sustaining treatment) as the Bill currently gives to advance refusals of treatment. If you agree these are important issues it would be very helpful to include them issues in any letters you send.

Letters need to be sent out as soon as possible to make sure they reach MPs before the 14th.

News archive

MDA campaign news 2003 - Jan 2005

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The information on this page was provided by members of the Making Decisions Alliance. It was last updated on11 January 2005.

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This website is run on behalf of the Making Decisions Alliance by the Mental Health Foundation / Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, 9th Floor, Sea Containers House, 20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9QB. Tel: +44 (0)20 7803 1100. Press office tel: +44 (0)20 7803 1281. Email: Website:

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