Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [HL]

Written evidence submitted by Dr Samantha Hamer (MCAB10)

Comments on the House of Commons consultation on the Liberty Protection Safeguards

Dr Samantha Hamer

Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry

DOLS mental health assessor Leicester City and Leicestershire

I am writing in my role as consultant psychiatrist and mental health DOLS assessor to raise concerns about the proposed changes that would occur if the Liberty Protection Safeguards are implemented instead of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

1. There appears to be no consideration of the views of the person who lacks capacity. Although someone may lack capacity to make a decision, their views on how or where they should be cared for should always be taken into account for any care to be truly person centred. If someone is objecting to their care, then having an advocate to ensure that their objections are taken into account is always necessary. This may be a family member, but a proportion of my patients have no family or friends to do this on their behalf and should not be ignored because of this.

2. The ability to attach conditions to the authorisation of a deprivation can be very helpful in ensuring that patients with psychiatric symptoms receive adequate treatment, for example, if depression or anxiety is identified by the mental health assessor, a recommendation that their mood is treated and reassessed can lead to improvements in quality of life and ensures that it is not the deprivations that are causing the low mood or anxiety.

3. My biggest concern is the huge conflict of interests that would occur if care home managers, or private hospitals complete the assessments to authorise the deprivations. I have been involved in several assessments where residents of care homes could return home with additional support, but although they have been asking to go home, this has not been progressed until the DOLS assessments and the independent BIA has pushed a social worker to act.

I would be grateful if theses concerns could be taken into account.

Yours sincerely

Dr Samantha Hamer

January 2019


Prepared 15th January 2019