BMA launches Mental Capacity Act toolkit for doctors, to raise awareness and support decision making

MCA toolkit

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 came into force in England and Wales in 2007 to provide a legal framework for decision-making on behalf of people who cannot make decisions themselves.

We have posted previously about the lack of practical knowledge of the working of the Act amongst learning disability community teams  and pointed to articles and resources that might help social care professionals and families better understand the workings of the Act

However, there are also concerns about the understanding of the role of medical professionals in assessing capacity to understand and retain information relating to medical interventions and procedures and the British Medical Association has responded by publishing a toolkit to act as a prompt to doctors.

The purpose of the toolkit is to help doctors who may be providing care and treatment for people who lack, or who may lack the mental capacity to make decisions on their own behalf.

The toolkit comes in the form of a series of cards which relate to specific areas of the Act, for example how to assess capacity and advance refusals of treatment.

The cards are designed to cover one topic, but also set the topic in the broader context and recognise the overlap between the separate topics.

The toolkit aims to help raise the awareness of doctors about the Act and its content and also to provide a guide and support for good decision-making.

The toolkit can be downloaded in full as a pdf document or each card can be downloaded separately.

Mental Capacity Act Toolkit, British Medical Association, 2013

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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