Thousands of patients who lack mental capacity are to have care reviewed after Supreme Court ruling

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 04 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2612
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

Tens of thousands of patients in NHS hospitals, care homes, and state funded residential accommodation who lack mental capacity to take their own decisions will have to be reviewed to check whether they are being illegally detained, after a landmark judgment by the UK Supreme Court.

The judgment last month from the UK’s highest court sets out a new test for deprivation of liberty.1 As a result, anyone without capacity whose care has been arranged by the state, who is under continuous supervision and control, and who is not free to leave must be considered to be deprived of liberty.

The new test means that many more patients than had been thought will meet the criteria. Those in hospitals and care homes will have to have their placements formally authorised under the deprivation of liberty safeguards in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 …

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