The Mental Capacity Team is responsible for supporting the application of the Mental Capacity Act across the Trust and promoting good practice across all divisions.

Alongside providing specialist training, the team offers enhanced support and advice to colleagues and managers across all divisions dealing with complex cases. Furthermore, the team monitors and reports on applications made under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) scheme across all inpatient units.

The Mental Capacity Act team is responsible for the co-ordination of the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) project, which will deliver organisational preparedness for this new scheme.

Meet the team

  • Nicola Peet – Trust-Wide Mental Capacity Act Legislation Lead
  • Stephen McGrath, Mental Capacity Lead Professional – Mid Mersey
  • Aurora Piergiacomi, DoLS to LPS Project Co-Ordinator
  • Keiko Provost, MHA/MCA Facilitator

The 2005 Mental Capacity Act (MCA) provides a legal framework for those individuals who lack mental capacity to make their own decisions. It affects anyone aged 16+ who lacks mental capacity, and also enables individuals to make plans for the future should they lose capacity.

The Mental Capacity Act outlines five statutory principles:

  1. Always assume the person has capacity unless proved otherwise
  2. Do not treat someone as incapable of making a decision unless you have taken all practicable steps to help them
  3. Do not treat someone as incapable of making a decision because their decision may seem eccentric or unwise
  4. Any acts or decisions made on behalf of people without capacity must be in THEIR best interest
  5. Before making a ‘best interests’ decision, consider if there is a less restrictive option.

The act also sets out a clear test to determine whether a person lacks the capacity to make a particular decision at a given time. A lack of capacity must never be established on the basis of a given condition, age, appearance or aspect of their behaviour.

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) is a legal framework that aims to safeguard the human rights of vulnerable individuals when they reside in a hospital, or care home. Patients can only be deprived of their liberty if they lack the mental capacity to make a decision about their residence, care and treatment, and it is in their best interest.

DoLS apply to individuals who are:

  • Aged 18 or over
  • Have been assessed as lacking capacity to make a decision about arrangements for their care and treatment
  • Are under continuous supervision and control
  • Are not free to leave

Applying for and obtaining a DoLS authorisation
Colleagues must apply to the relevant Local Authority for authorisation to deprive a person of their liberty. To apply for a DoLS authorisation, please follow the process outlined within the MC04 Policy and speak with your line manager if you need additional support. When requesting an authorisation under the DoLS scheme, you must share a copy of the submitted DoLS Forms with the Mental Capacity Act Team (MCA.DoLSTeam@merseycare.nhs.uk). Templates for the DoLS Forms can be downloaded at the following link. You must ensure that expired authorisations are escalated following the Trust-wide process.

The Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) scheme was introduced by the 2019 Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act. This scheme, which introduces new statutory responsibilities for NHS Trusts, aims to safeguard individuals who lack capacity to consent to their care arrangements if these amount to a deprivation of liberty.

While the LPS will replace the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) system, it is expected that the LPS will affect a larger number of people as it also includes young people aged 16+ and people in their own homes.

Work has started across the organisation to prepare for this important new legislation – to find out more about any LPS developments, please check the Liberty Protection Safeguards page.

For an updated list of scheduled Mental Capacity training, please check the Learning and Development prospectus.

Furthermore, managers can request for enhanced to be provided to their team. To request training or to discuss further, please contact Nicola Peet at Nicola.Peet1@merseycare.nhs.uk

The team has developed a number of digital resources to support and prompt practitioners to “Think MCA” when applying the Mental Capacity Act in practice:

To obtain support with cases involving mental capacity matters, please contact the relevant mental capacity lead for your area as listed below.

Should additional legal support be needed, the team will be able to raise a request for legal advice through the Trust’s solicitors. 

Trust-wide  - Nicola Peet – Mental Capacity Legislation Lead -  Nicola.Peet1@merseycare.nhs.uk -  07768 325783

For Mid Mersey Division - Stephen McGrath – Lead Mental Capacity Professional -  Stephen.McGrath2@merseycare.nhs.uk – 07385 951121