Councillor calls for change in mental capacity laws for Milton Keynes patients

A town councillor has launched a national petition asking for changes in the laws surrounding mental capacity for patients.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 6:00 am

Councillor Shery Delfani believes the current mental capacity laws are wrongly preventing relatives or carers receiving crucial information about patients.

And the consequences can be dangerous or even fatal, she says.

“The aim of the petition is to raise awareness of the current issues revolving around vulnerable patients lacking capacity to consent to the disclosure of confidential information to their relatives or carer and prevent unnecessary and avoidable deaths as a consequence of this issue,” said Cllr Delfani, who is a member of West Bletchley Council. .

Shery Delfani

She added: “We have all heard of suicide incidents in the UK where patients had mental health conditions or spectrum conditions that resulted in mental health issues throughout their lifetime.

“While it is true that confidentiality is a duty of all healthcare professionals, sometimes patients are extremely vulnerable and lack the mental capacity to make an informed consent to the disclosure of information to their family or carer.

“Families or carers of such patients have a crucial role in decision making and care in the patient’s best interests, and therefore will not be able to carry out their role as information is not disclosed to them due to “confidentiality”.

This, says Cllr Delfani, can result in severe consequences in vulnerable patients, such as deterioration in the mental or physical condition as well as suicides.

“In order to avoid such unnecessary and avoidable deaths, we need to assess patient’s capacity more accurately and take into account their vulnerabilities when deciding whether to disclose patient information to families or carers.

“If the decision of not disclosing patient information to family or carer is made due to justifiable reasons, it is crucial to monitor the patients mental and physical health after discharging them into the community on their own, instead of leaving them unattended.”

You can sign the petition here.