• Health and social care providers who support vulnerable adults often have to grapple with the tricky issue of how best to support the person to receive healthcare. Often, plans will involve an element of not informing the person about what is going to happen, covert sedation or anxiolytic medication – perhaps even anaesthesia, and potentially restraint. Conversely, there can be circumstances where the professionals do not think it’s clinically appropriate for a treatment to be offered to a vulnerable adult, or perhaps to be withdrawn.

    In this session, Victoria Butler-Cole KC from 39 Essex Chambers considered:

    • What is the difference between restraint and an Article 5 deprivation of liberty requiring authorisation?
    • What amounts to medical treatment that is serious?
    • Applying the Vice President’s Guidance on Applications relating to Medical Treatment, where does the threshold lie for making an application? In particular:
      • What counts as a “serious interference with a person’s rights under the ECHR”?
      • If the plan involves a deprivation of liberty for medical treatment in hospital, does that have to be authorised by the Court of Protection?
    • Understanding the important distinction between a dispute on best interests as to treatment and a public law decision that treatment is not going to be offered/continued – including:
      • What does “futile” mean in this context?
      • Is the Court’s authorisation required?
    • What the potential changes might be based on the draft Code of Practice to the Mental Capacity Act 2005?

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