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CQC warns lack of understanding of Mental Capacity Act

People with mental illness or learning disabilities may be being deprived on their liberties, regulators warned after they found that there is a “widespread” lack of understanding about the Mental Capacity Act.

Health and social care staff have been encouraged by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to enhance their knowledge about the 2005 Act, which was developed to help people who cannot make certain decisions for themselves.

The CQC raised concerns that the legislation is “not well understood or implemented” by some staff in care homes and hospitals.

In some care homes and hospitals, people’s freedom to make decisions for themselves is “restricted” without proper consideration of their ability to consent or refuse, the regulator said.

A new CQC report suggests that there is particular confusion about the proper use of restraint.

The report says: “The use of restraint can become routine when there is a lack of understanding and proper governance. It can also be hard for staff to gauge whether restraint is proportionate and in someone’s best interests.”

David Behan, chief executive of the CQC, said: “If someone has dementia or has a severe learning disability they can still contribute to decisions about their care.

“If this is done properly then people will receive appropriate care; if it is not done then people can be deprived of their liberty.

“Understanding the Mental Capacity Act and the way it is applied is critical to good quality, safe care. Those providing services, must ensure that their staff understand the Act and what it means for the care and treatment of people.”

Sign our Speak Out Safely petition to support a transparent and open NHS. We are calling on the government to implement recommendations from the Francis report that will increase protection for staff who raise concerns about patient care.

Readers' comments (7)

  • It is about time to empower staff and everyone to speak out without fear from management blaming staff of breach in confidentiality when we are dealing with lives and the most vulnerable people in our society
    We should have an open culture of speaking out and admit it when things go wrong in the system as it is always easy to blame junior staff.

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  • michael stone

    regulators warned after they found that there is a “widespread” lack of understanding about the Mental Capacity Act.

    __________________

    Well, that comes as a shock to me (NOT !).

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  • Just knew DH Agent would jump in on this one to find another weapon to bash nurses with. don't encourage him!

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 30-Mar-2013 5:21 pm

    I am NOT 'bashing nurses' - and I never have been 'bashing nurses' !!!

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  • DH Agent - as if ! | 2-Apr-2013 9:39 am

    Anonymous | 30-Mar-2013 5:21 pm


    just meddling then, there isn't much difference.

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  • michael stone

    Please give feedback – both positive and negative – about your experiences and the treatment and care you have received, (NHS Constitution 2012)
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    Anonymous | 2-Apr-2013 11:53 am

    I'm just giving feedback - all I'm doing, is pointing out that various clinical professionals, are distorting both the law and also logic, in the guidance they are currently writing. That dodgy guidance influenced a personal experience of mine, so my feedback is in line with what the NHS 'wants', if you believe its Constitution.

    So not 'meddling', but analytical criticism !

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  • Goodness me, is this what such a serious topic brings about - an on line niggle. How about something constructive. I'm a student and want to draw on expertise, not point scoring banter.

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