The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) came into force in England and Wales during two stages in 2007. The MCA applies to everyone who works in health and social care and is involved in the care, treatment or support of people aged 16 and over who live in England and Wales and who are unable to make all or some decisions for themselves.
We all have problems making decisions from time to time, but the Mental Capacity Act is about more than that. It is specifically designed to cover situations where someone is unable to make a decision because the way their mind or brain works is affected, for instance, by illness or disability, or the effects of drugs or alcohol.
A lack of mental capacity could be due to:
It introduces important new safeguards for people who lack capacity and the people who work with, support or care for them.
It is underpinned by five key principles which must inform everything you do when providing care or treatment for a person who lacks capacity.
The Act is accompanied by a Code of Practice which provides guidance as to how it should work on a day-to-day basis.
The Mental Capacity Act is relevant to anyone who has a relative or friend who may lack capacity.
The Act applies whenever decisions are being made on behalf of a person who lacks capacity to make a particular decision for themselves. This includes any assessment of their need for treatment, services or support. The Act provides a clear legal framework for dealing with mental capacity issues.
The Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) service was made available in England from April 2007 and in Wales from October 2007.
The duties of an IMCA are to:
Advocacy Experience provides a joint IMCA service for Liverpool and Sefton. Based in the Neuro Support Centre on Norton Street, the new service through Advocacy Experience was officially launched in November 2007.