Editorials

Mental Capacity Act 2005

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39372.691076.80 (Published 01 November 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:898
  1. Andrew Alonzi, senior lecturer in law1,
  2. Mike Pringle, professor of general practice2
  1. 1Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham NG1 5LP
  2. 2University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD
  1. mike.pringle{at}nottingham.ac.uk

    Should guide doctors to help protect vulnerable people

    The Mental Capacity Act 2005, which was fully implemented on 1 October 2007, is intended to protect people who lack capacity to make decisions and to encourage them to participate in the decisions that are intended to help them. It presents, however, a new range of challenges for doctors, but it should help clarify actions in difficult situations.

    A helpful code of practice that supports the act guides people treating or caring for adults who lack the capacity to make decisions about their treatment or care,1 and it is all most doctors will need. This code has statutory force, which means that practitioners now have a legal duty to take note of the code when working with or caring for adults who lack capacity to make decisions for themselves. However, there is no legal duty to comply with the code, although evidence of non-compliance may be used by a court or tribunal—for example, in a claim for damages for clinical negligence. …

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