An amendment to the UK’s Mental Capacity (Amendment) bill has been introduced in British Parliament, with veteran politician Lord James Mackay seeking to prevent the escalation of treatment disputes to the courts.
Lord Mackay’s proposed amendment, introduced on September 4, would compel hospitals to offer “medical mediation” to families to resolve disputes before resorting to the courts. It would also force the Government to provide access to clinical ethics committees to advise doctors and families on life and death decisions.
The amendment pertains to a bill currently under debate in UK parliament which would significantly alter the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
Lord Mackay’s amendment is based on a proposal drafted in memory of baby Charlie Gard in a bid to spare other families courtroom clashes with doctors. The amendment stops short of empowering families to seek treatments elsewhere, and in its current form only applies to adult patients. It is, nevertheless, a significant step toward legislative reform.
“I am happy to have laid this amendment which seeks to prevent cases reaching court unnecessarily”, Lord Mackay told reporters. “This is a proportionate and long-overdue measure which I hope will be the first small step toward realising Charlie’s Law”.
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