asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is considering excluding from the new Bill on mental health those suffering from mental handicap, in order to recognise the distinction between mentally handicapped and mentally ill people.
The Mental Health (Amendment) Bill was introduced in another place on 10 November. It proposes a number of changes to the powers in the Mental Health Act 1959 to admit mentally-disordered people to hospital or receive them into guardianship. These powers will still apply to the very small number of mentally handicapped people for whom they are needed. We recognise the need to distinguish between mental handicap and mental illness and intend to provide for the legal powers affecting mentally handicapped patients to be grouped separately in a consolidation Bill, to be introduced as soon as possible after the passage of the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill.