New safeguards on incapacity planned

People who lack the capacity to object to being detained in
psychiatric hospitals or care homes would have their rights
protected under new measures proposed by the government.

The safeguards have been drawn up following the Bournewood Judgment
last October. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that HL, an
autistic man unable to speak, was unlawfully deprived of his
liberty when he was detained at Bournewood Hospital in Surrey for
three months, which breached his human rights.

The court criticised the lack of formalised admission procedures at
the hospital, including “the lack of any fixed procedural rules by
which the admission and detention of compliant incapacitated
patients was conducted”.

Protective Care, an idea outlined in a consultation paper released
by the Department of Health last month, would introduce rules for
admission and detention, plus procedures for reviews of detention
and appeals.

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