Today is the day the last few parts of the Mental Capacity Act come into force. It is complicated stuff but I find there is some great information out there to help people get to grips with what it all means, including a DVD going up on You Tube. The Act is going to help us support people to make their own decisions. But the number of forms that come with it look a bit daunting – why do they always have to wrap these things up with so much red tape?
Bit of a struggle to get up this morning. Didn’t sleep well after a call at 11pm last night from a woman I support who wanted to talk about an issue with her latest assessment. At one point in the conversation she told me I shouldn’t be working so late – resisted the temptation to point out that it was only thanks to her that I was. Today was meant to be a day in the office but when I get in my diary tells me I’m meant to be 70 miles away for a meeting. My mother warned me there would be days like this.
Go to a meeting of a dating agency for people with learning disabilities. We hear that several men without a learning disability want to sign up and go out on a date. My first thought is “so what are they after?”. But then I think, am I limiting peoples’ choices? God knows. Dash back to the office to get some papers out in time to hit a deadline. Then deal with a request for help from a solicitor gathering evidence for a court case. A couple with learning disabilities who have had their new baby taken into care are now told they face losing their two year old as well. I’m very angry about it because I know that if the children and families team had given them more support they would not be in this desperate situation.
Off to London today for a conference. Hear the usual stuff from the usual suspects but it’s good to catch up with some colleagues. Go to lunch with a chap I sometimes support. When he comes back with his third helping of steak pie I try dropping a hint about healthy eating choices. He completely ignores me – and quite right too, I think, as I opt for the profiteroles and cream. In the afternoon I have to give a presentation on parents with learning disabilities. I dusted down an old talk of mine as, when I checked, nothing much has changed over the past 10 years. But I do have high hopes for some new Department of Health guidance that has just come out. It could help more people hang on to their children – that is if local authorities use it properly (which is a fairly big if).
At last a day in the office to catch up. I have to transcribe some interviews I recorded with some people with learning disabilities using supported living. They have stories to tell about the way staff fleeced them for cash. It staggers me that anyone could steal from those who have least in our society. Although the police have been involved I’m not hopeful – they seldom regard the evidence of people with learning disabilities as strong enough for a court case.