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The Mental Capacity Act: 10 years on – the key learning areas for healthcare professionals

Authors Marshall H, Sprung S

Received 12 February 2018

Accepted for publication 2 August 2018

Published 9 October 2018 Volume 2018:8 Pages 29—38

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NRR.S148855

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Cindy Hudson


Helen Marshall,1 Sally Sprung2

1Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, UK; 2School of Nursing and Allied Health, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK

Abstract: The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) became statute law in England and Wales from October 2007 and was described as a visionary piece of legislation for its time, which had the potential to give people a voice and an opportunity to be heard. However, 10 years on, the Act is not being utilized in the UK as was intended. A scrutiny report published by the House of Lords in 20141 identified that the MCA was not embedded into the everyday practice of health care professionals due to the lack of knowledge, understanding, and confidence in the application of the basic principles of the MCA in clinical settings. The Department of Health produced a response document, which placed improvements in the implementation of the MCA at the forefront of the political agenda in order to empower and safeguard those deemed the most vulnerable in society. It is envisaged that this response will require a shift in the culture of health care professionals to view the MCA as a mandatory part of clinical practice and not an option. With the prevalence of people with impairment of mind or brain set to rise in the coming years, it is of vital importance that the MCA is used proactively in order to provide a protection for both patients and practitioners.

Keywords: mental capacity, nurse, experience, NHS, knowledge, confidence, advanced planning, global, MCA

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