The Department of Health is conducting a consultation on proposed legislation to effectively protect the liberty of persons who are in receipt of services, and whose liberty is insufficiently protected at present. This legislation, if enacted, would largely apply to disability and care of older persons services, and in some instances mental health services where a person is not detained pursuant to Mental Health Act. Currently, where a person’s liberty is limited, i.e. they cannot leave a service and are under continuous supervision and control, there in most instances is no legal mechanism to authorise that deprivation of liberty, nor a review of the deprivation. The INMO has made a human rights based submission in favour of the legislation, but in particular we have suggested; strengthening the position of a person who may be subject to measures through the establishment of an independent advocacy service, appropriate definitions to provide maximum protection, an enhanced role for members of the multi-disciplinary team other than medical experts, the necessity to train staff in relation to the proposals, and a strong emphasis on ensuring that the PIC is a person with appropriate seniority, experience, authority, time and facilities to allow them exercise the significant statutory functions which are proposed. As an Organisation, and as professionals, we support the equal human rights of all persons irrespective of their status or condition and these proposals are long overdue intervention to address a lack of regard for the human dignity and equality of those who are elderly and/or have a disability.
Dr Edward Mathews
INMO Director of Regulation and Social Policy