EXCLUSIVE: SCIE Chair Paul Burstow voices unease over Mental Capacity Act reform

SCIE Chair Paul Burstow

Paul Burstow, Chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), has added his voice to the growing chorus of concern over the Mental Capacity Act (Amendment) Bill currently making its way through Parliament.

The SCIE chair’s remarks come after social care leaders urged a rethink on the legislation (see Care leaders urge Government rethink on Mental Capacity Act (Amendment) Bill).

“There is certainly a lot of concern in understanding what the changes could be for practice,” Paul said.

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“A very large number of practitioners are quite anxious about what it means for them.”

The legislation, which was introduced into the House of Lords on July 3, seeks to replace the current Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS).

Care leaders have expressed their concerns that the new proposals will undermine the safeguards that protect people who lack the capacity to make decisions about their care and will introduce a conflict of interest for registered managers, who would be responsible for carrying out assessments, leaving providers open to the allegation they are depriving people of their liberty to fill a vacancy.

“The role of registered managers is already a very critical role,” Paul told CHP.

“The danger if that role is not properly supported to take on additional responsibilities, and they are not properly reflected in what they are paid, just exacerbates an already precarious situation where turnover is very high.

“There is an issue about public assurance and who watches the guardians. If registered managers are suddenly placed in this position where they are making a judgement about mental capacity, as well as having other responsibilities to their owner, that could give rise to quite serious issues.”

The SCIE recently ran a webinar on the proposals in which over 2,500 people participated.

To view the webinar, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Soxw67lsVHA

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