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Letter to Community Care

Issue date: 21 October 2004

The Making Decisions Alliance (MDA) does not agree with Cathy Ashton's assessment that the Mental Capacity Bill (CC 14-20th October) is "a great bill". The MDA certainly believes that it has the potential to be a great bill and that there are already many good elements to it. Mental capacity legislation is long over due and much needed for thousands of vulnerable people in this country who currently have no legal framework that supports their rights to make decisions, and protects them when decisions are made on their behalf.

However our support is conditional. We share the concerns of many that there are still insufficient safeguards in the bill to properly support people to make decisions for themselves wherever possible, and to protect theme where they are not. We do not believe that the current provisions in the bill are nearly sufficient to meet the recent European ruling on the Bournewood case.

The bill needs to contain greater provision for advocacy and other significant changes such as a principle of non-discrimination in decision-making, clearer treatment safeguards and duties to assess capacity, provision for advance requests for treatment, improvements to the lasting powers of attorney, and the inclusion of the benefits appointeeship system. With changes such as these, we may then truly have a great bill.

Toby Williamson
Co-Chair Making Decisions Alliance

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The information on this page was provided by members of the Making Decisions Alliance. It was last updated on7 December 2004.

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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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