Related documents to mental capacity
This section refers to factsheets and resources on mental capacity. Click on the link to open the document (these will open as a new window and most are held on our partners' websites)
Consent: The basics
Consent for patients' autonomy is expressed in consent law; to impose care or treatment on people without respecting their wishes and right to self-determination is not only unethical, but illegal.
General principles of the Mental Capacity Act
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (the Act) aims to protect people who lack capacity, and maximise their ability to make decisions or participate in decision-making.
The Mental Capacity Act states that a person lacks capacity if they are unable to make a specific decision, at a specific time, because of an impairment of, or disturbance, in the functioning of mind or brain. This factsheet sets out the things to look for when assessing the capacity of a patient.
Confidentiality: Relating to patients unable to consent
You owe a duty of confidentiality to all your patients, past or present, even if they are adults who lack capacity.
Mental Capacity Act: Best interest tests
The best interests principle in The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (the Act) states that any act done or decision made on behalf of an adult lacking capacity must be in their best interests.
An advance decision (“living will”) to refuse future medical treatment – should the patient then lack capacity –can be made by a person who is over 18 and who has capacity.
Court of Protection and deputies
The Mental Capacity Act (the Act) established the Court of Protection, whose role it is to protect individuals who lack capacity and make rulings on difficult decisions about their care and welfare.
Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCA)
The role of Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCAs) is to support and represent a person who lacks capacity in making a specific decision, and who has no-one (other than paid carers) to support them.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
The Mental Capacity Act (MCA ) creates a new form of power of attorney – Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), which gives another individual the authority to make decisions for an individual who now lacks capacity.
GMC Mental Capacity flowchart
This interactive tool from the GMC will help you decide what to do when you doubt your patient’s capacity to make decisions about their care.
GMC Mental Capacity Act and consent resource page
Additional resources from the GMC about decision making when patients may lack capacity.
Mental Capacity Act toolkit
The BMA's mental capacity toolkit.
An essential guide to consent
Consent is a fundamental principle of medical law. The basic rule is simple: no-one has the right to touch anyone else without lawful excuse and if doctors do so it may well undermine patients’ trust
MCA Scenarios - Click here to open YouTube training videos of the MCA in everyday practice
SCIE an Introduction to Deprivation of Liberty
Social Care Institute for Excellence's document
Deprivation of Liberty a Practical Guide
The Law Society has issued comprehensive guidance on the law relating to the deprivation of liberty safeguards.