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New legislation aims to protect vulnerable people with mental health problems

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New legislation brought in today aims to help better protect vulnerable people with mental health problems in hospitals and care homes against abuse and poor care.

The government’s new ‘Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards’ states that if an organisation must now seek permission from their local primary care trust or council before they can deprive someone of their liberty for their own safety.

Care services minister Phil Hope said: ‘Vulnerable people will now have rights where previously they had none.  This will improve care.  The safeguards will flush out poor care and prevent people from being deprived of liberty in a care home or hospital unless is it absolutely necessary for their own safety.’

The government’s expects to see around 21,000 such applications in the first with only a quarter likely to be authorised. 

Gary Fitzgerald, chief executive of Action on Elder Abuse said that the new safeguards would provide ‘essential protection’ for the most vulnerable members of society.

‘We hope that the new safeguards will herald a fresh debate about the care we offer to adults with so called challenging behaviour,’ he added.

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