e-mail gill@willtolive.co.uk


  Mrs Gill Gerhardi        

  12th July 2004

  Many thanks for contacting me to highlight your concerns over the Mental Capacity Bill.   I should like, if I may, to make a few points on this important issue.
  The right of all patients to consent to medical treatment is fundamental, and has always been safeguarded in law. Part of the intention of the Mental Capacity Bill is to ensure that the wishes of those who are mentally incapable of consenting to medical treatment are respected, by putting in writing how "advance directives" or "living wills", which are already legal, should work in practice. I am certain that the Bill will not give legal sanction to euthanasia. If it does, I shall vote against it.
  There has also been concern that the Bill might legalise the withdrawal of nutrition and fluids. This practice is already legal, but only in certain exceptional circumstances where food and water constitutes medical treatment. The ultimate decision on this can only be taken by a Court on the advice of medical practitioners. I believe that in the very rare circumstance where all quality of life and hope is gone, it is the most humane course of action. However, the final decision to withdraw or continue lifesustaining treatment resides with a doctor. I do not believe that the Bill will change this situation but, if it does, I shall vote against it.
  I shall certainly scrutinise the Bill carefully and take your views into account. I assure you that I am resolutely opposed to euthanasia by act or by omission and I shall vote against any legislation which attempts to legalise it.
  If I can be of any assistance to you in the future please do not hesitate to let me know. I am always very willing to do whatever I can to help.
    Gill's reply