One of the first pieces of legislation with an impact on health likely to be passed by the Scottish Parliament came under discussion last week.

The Parliament's justice committee, with the health committee in attendance, heard oral evidence on the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Bill.

It avoids dealing with issues such as advance directives - commonly known as living wills. But the British Medical Association said it would allow doctors and relatives to make decisions about whether patients should be allowed to die without recourse to the courts, which would be different to the situation in England.

The bill extends the right of relatives and carers to know what treatment is being proposed for patients and gives them a say in it.

It sets out a role for a 'proxy' to act as a patient's advocate in treatment if patients are unable to act for themselves. And it gives a proxy rights over an incapable adult's financial affairs.

The legislation has been put forward following the death at Law Hospital of Janet Johnson, who was in a persistent vegetative state.

Alex McMahon, nursing policy adviser at the Royal College of Nursing, said it wanted the term 'medical treatment' changed to 'clinical treatment'. He told the committees withdrawal of medical treatment should mean that nursing care would be continued. He argued withdrawal of clinical treatment would mean that all care would be withdrawn.