Protecting older people’s precious right to liberty: the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill

Gary Beckwith photographed for Age UK, 51 Bristow Road, Wallington, Surrey, CR0 4QQ

Blog written by Angela Kitching, Head of External Affairs, Age UK

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill is in Committee in the House of Lords – unless you are an avid Parliamentary watcher, I doubt you’ve noticed. But public controversy is starting to rise about this Bill, which is about the important and hugely sensitive issue of the legal protection available for older people and adults who lack mental capacity but who it is considered need to be contained in a given place for their own safety and/or that of others. Older people who are subject to this legislation generally have dementia, delirium or some other cognitive health problem. The way this protection is offered by application for a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard (DOLS). The debate about this Bill is taking place against a context of worries about the current system, which has broken down, leaving many older people with no protection at all.

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