• DoLS at the Law Commission and in Altrincham 14 December 2015 | View comments

  • 14th December 2015 | By David Jolley

    On Monday (7.12.15) I was privileged to spend an hour with colleaguesin discussion with senior people of the Law Commission who are working to rescue us from the present nightmare tangle of personal misery and national wastefulness which has been produced by interpretations of the European Court’s directive to this country to make proper provision for people who lack capacity by virtue of mental disorder and are in need of care. 

    I was with Baroness Elaine Murphy, Professor Alistair Burns, Dr Adrian Treloar and Dr Gianetta Rands who are all psychiatrist with long experience in the care of older people and people with dementia. We were joined by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, Professor of Palliative Careat Cardiff and Chairman National Mental Capacity Forum www.parliament.uk/biographies/lords/baroness-finlay-of-llandaff/3609

    The Law Commission team was Rt Hon Lord Justice Bean (Sir David Bean), Chairman the Law Commission, Tim Spencer Lane, Law Commission, responsible for coordinating the work of the Commission in this area, Patrick Tomison, Research Assistant Law Commission and Olivia Bird, Research Assistant Law Commission.

    This is a tricky subject. The Law Commission has received almost 600 substantial responses to its consultation paper which floated the concept of an alternative to DoLS - Protective Care.

    The burden of our message was that neither a fully funded DoLS nor Protective Care seem to be quite right. Both will be/would be massivelyexpensive of resource of all kinds and will produce little or no tangible benefits, but will ‘certify’ a large part of the population to their disadvantage and stigmatization. Money syphoned off to this bureaucratic/legalistic process will be lost to more worthwhile care or treatment opportunities.

    This message comes not only from us but from a range of other sourcesand via many MPs.

    On Saturday morning (12.12.15) I met with my MP – Graham Brady www.grahambrady.co.uk/ in company with Councillor Michael Young at Altrincham Town Hall. They are fully appreciative of the difficulties and costs being met by Trafford MBC. Like others they are keen to see the problems addressed ‘with common sense’.

    The discussion at the Law Commission was impressive and encouraging. These very able people have spent a lot of time in care in gathering information, visiting settings and circumstances, listening to peopleand thinking hard. They are still listening and thinking. One avenuethey will pursue is to review what other European countries are doing in the face of this phenomenon – Looking at processes and standards.

    In my view the standard set by Lady Hale at Cheshire West, welded into permanency by the catchy but perplexing ‘A gilded cage is still a cage’, is unreasonable and has entrapped us. With time and patience we must break free for the benefit of people with dementia and others who lack capacity – and to avoid the bankruptcy of this and other nations.

    Talking with people, including local MPs must be one good way to proceed.

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