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Mental Capacity Act

BASW NI took the opportunity to respond to the Department of Health’s targeted consultation on the Review Tribunal Rules Amendments to facilitate the implementation of DOLS under the new Mental Capacity Act (NI) 2016.  We made use of the consultation to comment on the wider issues of the speed of this partial implication, the need for robust training, clear guidance documentation for practitioners and our concern about nurses being enabled to undertake short term DOLs without the robust training that ASW’s receive. Below is an extract from our response:

“BASW NI were involved in the work of drafting the Mental Capacity Act (NI) 2016 and welcomed the ground-breaking new legislation when it gained royal assent. Obviously due to the political stalemate in Northern Ireland there has been a lack of progress in implementing the legislation until now. Although BASW NI have been calling for implementation of the new legislation for some time we would question the rushed nature of this partial implementation with such a short lead-in phase. The Capacity Act is one of the most complex pieces of legislation ever passed and the reach and scope is potentially huge, as such it needs to be implemented only once a clear and agreed set of guidance is in place. It is our understanding from members that this is not the case.

We have not been consulted on the draft Code of Practice, nor can we find a draft copy on the Department of Health website so we cannot provide further comment here. We have however been approached by members expressing serious concern about the current draft of the Codes and their readiness for use. We would welcome the opportunity to help develop the Code if that opportunity is still available.

It is noteworthy that no guidance documentation or codes in relation to the operation of the Review Panel are available with this consultation document and this is of grave concern to BASW NI. Practitioners must have a clear framework for practice and service users impacted by this legislation must have clear standards.

We understand that a whole scale programme of training has been planned to cover all HSC staff commencing in September, given the complexity of the legislation we seriously question if this is enough and would seek to understand the rationale for the timing of same.”

We have received several calls form members expressing serious concerns about the implementation of the MCA and we have responded by inviting a DOLS manager and Mental Health expert from Salford to run three workshops on ‘Learning from Experience” on 15-17 January. Look out for more information and venues on twitter @BASW-NI, PSW and on our website.

Further information