Mental Capacity Act Bill ‘not fit for purpose’, says Care England

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Care England, the largest representative body for independent adult social care providers, has expressed concern about a Mental Capacity Act reform bill that entered the House of Lords this week.

The Bill, which had its initial Committee State in the House of Lords yesterday, amends the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and is designed to streamline the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) system (see BREAKING NEWS: Government introduces deprivation of liberty safeguards reforms).

Care England, which has been working in conjunction with the Care Provider Alliance (CPA), has identified some major concerns about the premise of the Bill.

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Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said: “As providers we are very concerned about the inherent conflict of interest associated with placing Liberty Protection Safeguards assessment responsibilities on registered care home managers.”

While highlighting the general consensus among providers that existing DoLS arrangements are unwieldy and should be replaced, Care England said there were widespread concerns that aspects of the proposals erode the safeguards that currently protect people who lack capacity to make decisions about their care and treatment.

Martin added: “Whilst reform is necessary as providers we cannot fathom why the Department of Health and Social Care is intent on driving forward a Bill that is simply not fit for purpose.

“If we are agreed in the final outcome, namely protecting the vulnerable, then the Government must draw on the expertise contained in the Law Commission’s extensive report and start again with due consideration to all parties involved in protecting those in need backed up by proper consultation and impact assessments.”

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