New advocate service established

A new Independent Mental Capacity Advocate service to help
vulnerable people who lack capacity to make their own decisions was
announced today by health minister Rosie Winterton,
writes Clare Jerrom.

The Department of Health has made £6.5 million available to
set up the service aimed specifically at vulnerable people who do
not have relatives or friends to speak for them.

“The IMCA is an important new safeguard for the most
vulnerable people who lack capacity and we want to continue to work
closely with interested parties in implementing this
service,” said Winterton.

The service will mean that those people who lack capacity such
as people with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, brain injury or
a severe learning difficulty will be helped to make difficult
decisions such as medical treatment choices or changes to

It was introduced under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and
implementation is planned for April 2007.
A three-month consultation was opened at the same time to cover
important operational details in setting up the IMCA service
including the functions of the IMCA, how to define “serious
medical treatment” and whether to extend the services to
other groups.

The consultation is available from

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