Flowchart spells out mental capacity law

2014-06-17

A new BMA tool offers practical help for doctors who need to assess the decision-making capacity of their patients.

The online resource offers a step-by-step guide through procedures set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for England and Wales, which aims to protect adults who may not be able to make care or treatment decisions themselves.

This could be due to a mental health condition, severe learning disability, brain injury, stroke or unconsciousness from an anaesthetic or sudden accident.

BMA medical ethics department deputy Julian Sheather said the BMA had long been concerned over a lack of awareness of the act among doctors.

He stressed: ‘Without a practical grasp of the main features of the act, doctors risk either exposing vulnerable patients to unnecessary risks or overriding their decision-making liberties.’

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