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Keeping within the law: Mental capacity resources
Wednesday 25 April 2012
“This is not just good practice – it’s the law.” A new tool highlights legal requirements to involve families in best interest decisions of their loved ones
Mencap, Ambitious about Autism and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation have worked together with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors to develop a new best interest decision-making resource. It was prompted by concerns that professionals are failing to appropriately consult with families, as required under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
Under the Act, all professionals – including those from local authorities and the NHS – must consult with family members when adults lack the mental capacity to make the relevant decision themselves.
The new resource outlines the key points of the Act, and includes two template letters to help family members challenge service providers when they have not been involved, or are concerned that they won’t be involved, in the best interest decision-making process.
David Congdon, head of campaigns and policy at Mencap says: “It is crucial that professionals listen to family carers and use their knowledge to inform decisions being made. This applies to all decisions – those about medical treatment and social care, as well as any other decision that affects the person’s life. This is not just good practice – it’s the law. It is important that families understand this and feel able to challenge when they are not being involved.”
Download the best interest decisions tool
Read Mencap's guide to the Mental Capacity Act