As you will be aware, the health and social care sector (like others) is working hard to maintain essential services in what are extremely challenging times. Whilst the manner in which many of us work is being adapted in line with current Government and Public Health England guidance, it is recognised that much of the work we undertake can’t simply just stop. So, there is a balance to be had between ensuring, as far as possible, the wellbeing of everyone (especially vulnerable people) and maintaining vital services. I am committed to maintaining as many of the services I provide throughout this period of uncertainty whilst acting responsibly to help ensure the safety of those I work with, vulnerable people and their carers.

To this end, until further notice, the following will apply:

Where possible, I will assess and consult people using non face-to-face methods such as Skype and telephone calls. Sometimes this is not possible and, in those situations, where safe to do so, I will continue with a face-to-face approach. If this is required, current Government guidelines will be followed. Whichever method will be adopted will depend entirely upon the nature and urgency of the work and will be discussed with the instructing party and care providers where applicable.

I wish you a safe and healthy time as we work together over the coming months,

Best Wishes, Gary.

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Tel: 0203 617 1255

What is a Mental Capacity Assessment?

In a previous post, I introduced the Mental Capacity Act and the fact that some people can’t make some decisions for themselves. In such cases, the Mental Capacity Act and other case law provide frameworks and tests used to assess whether a person has the Mental Capacity to make a particular decision.

The Mental Capacity Act can be used to assess the mental capacity for a wide range of matters from day-to-day decisions (such as what someone is going to wear or what they buy from the shops) to major, life-changing events (such as deciding whether to move to a care home or undergo a surgical procedure).

However, the Mental Capacity Act isn’t the only test used when assessing a person’s mental capacity. This is because some decisions are too personal for someone to make on behalf of another person and they are:

  • Decisions concerning family relationships (such as; consenting to marriage or civil partnerships, consenting to have sexual relations, consenting to a decree of divorce on the basis of two years’
    separation, consenting to the dissolution of a civil partnership, consenting to a child being placed for adoption or the making of an
    adoption order, discharging parental responsibility for a child in matters not relating to the child’s property, or giving consent under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990)
  • Mental health matters
  • Voting rights
  • Unlawful killing or assisted suicide

Some decisions are governed by other legislation and are also excluded from being made using the Mental Capacity Act. These are:

  • Capacity to make a will
  • Capacity to make a gift
  • Capacity to enter into a contract
  • Capacity to litigate (take part in legal cases)
  • Capacity to enter into marriage

Unlike the Mental Capacity Act, these tests are only for assessing whether a person lacks the mental capacity to make the decisions themselves. They don’t provide a framework for making best interests decisions.