The Mental Capacity Act 2005 introduced the role of the independent mental capacity advocate (IMCA). IMCAs are a legal safeguard for people who lack the capacity to make
specific important decisions: including making decisions about where they live and about
serious medical treatment options. IMCAs are mainly instructed to represent people where
there is no one independent of services, such as a family member or friend, who is able to
represent the person.
The IMCA role is to support and represent the person in the decision-making process.
IMCAs may be instructed where local authorities or NHS bodies ‘propose to take or have taken, protective measures in relation to a person who lacks capacity to agree to one or more of the measures’ and where safeguarding adults proceedings have been instigated. People at risk may be supported by an IMCA regardless of any involvement of family or friends.
An IMCA must be instructed where:
- There is a decision to be made regarding either serious medical treatment (SMT) or change of accommodation. AND
- The person has no close family or friends to represent their views AND
- The person has been deemed by the Decision Maker not to have capacity to make that decision in accordance with the assessment of capacity as defined in the Act
This can include:
- People with dementia or mental ill health
- People with learning disabilities
- People with physical disabilities
- People who have had a stroke
- People with acquired brain injuries
- People who are unconscious or in a coma
For further information contact:
John Kirkham, Area Manager
Mental Health Matters (Wales)
Unit 5 De Clare Business Park
Caerphilly CF83 2WA
Tel: 029 2088 8901