Campaigners warn government reform risks ‘exploitation’ of vulnerable people



Campaigners have once again voiced their unease over a reform to the Mental Capacity Act making its way through Parliament.

In a letter to The Times, 13 charities, including Mind, the National Autistic Charity and the Alzheimer’s Society, said the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill would put hundreds of thousands of people at risk of “exploitation and abuse” by tripling the time they can be detained without review.

The reform proposes giving care home managers more responsibility over assessing residents and their access to support, although the government has said that local authorities would make a final decision.

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The campaigners argued the changes create a “worrying” conflict of interest for care home managers.

Jeremy Hughes, head of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Under the proposals people with dementia find themselves in a worrying situation, unable to comment [honestly] on the quality of the care they receive, because care home managers would be in charge of asking residents about their care. This … creates a potential conflict of interest.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Our bill will reform a broken system and ensure vulnerable people can more quickly assess legal protections. We have listened carefully to feedback from stakeholders and parliamentarians and made amendments including excluding care home managers from granting authorisations or completing assessments. This will ensure all applications are independently scrutinised.”


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