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Mental health patients being denied human rights in court

(211 Posts)
HollyHB Sat 04-Jan-14 02:15:09

Emily Dugan, Social Affairs Correspondent, published Friday 03 January 2014

Brief, fair use excerpt:
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People with mental health problems are being denied justice by some Court of Protection judges who fail to even consider hearing patients’ testimony, leading lawyers have told a House of Lords inquiry.
Charlotte Haworth Hird, a solicitor who contributed to the submission, said that depriving patients of the right to speak for themselves “can lead to injustice”. She added: “Just because someone is deemed not to have capacity doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the chance to speak to the judge about an important decision affecting their lives.
The decisions of the court came under scrutiny earlier ... when it emerged Italian mother Alessandra Pacchieri had a caesarean section performed against her wishes and that her daughter was later taken into "care". ...
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It's good that they acknowledge that when people are denied opportunity to speak in their own defense when accused of being mental in an English Star Chamber secret court, it is not just the victim but her child or children who are denied justice also.

Maryz Sat 04-Jan-14 23:56:18

Excellent sentence Beyond [approving]

Even I can't figure out whether that's a compliment or not.

AngelaDaviesHair Sat 04-Jan-14 23:57:06


Mignonette Sat 04-Jan-14 23:57:06


Maryz Sat 04-Jan-14 23:59:11

Anyhow, I'm off to bed.

Night all flowerssmile[ginandvalium]

Spero Sun 05-Jan-14 00:00:11

Its been a pleasure seeing how courteous you can be when you try Maryz.

Night all!

scalesagain Sun 05-Jan-14 00:02:04

Functions of independent mental capacity advocates
36.—(1) The appropriate authority may make regulations as to the functions of independent mental capacity advocates.
(2) The regulations may, in particular, make provision requiring an advocate to take such steps as may be prescribed for the purpose of-
(a) providing support to the person whom he has been instructed to represent ("P") so that P may participate as fully as possible in any relevant decision;
(b) obtaining and evaluating relevant information;
(c) ascertaining what P's wishes and feelings would be likely to be, and the beliefs and values that would be likely to influence P, if he had capacity;
(d) ascertaining what alternative courses of action are available in relation to P;
(e) obtaining a further medical opinion where treatment is proposed and the advocate thinks that one should be obtained.
(3) The regulations may also make provision as to circumstances in which the advocate may challenge, or provide assistance for the purpose of challenging, any relevant decision.

I don't have any inside knowledge of that particular case, but think it highly unlikely that she did not have an advocate.

MurderOfGoths Sun 05-Jan-14 00:04:39

Thank you for that scales, that's good to know

AngelaDaviesHair Sun 05-Jan-14 00:06:38

Full disclosure-Holly has just sent me the following by PM:

I don't want to derail the thread any further, which is why I am sending you a PM, something I rarely do (this might, only might, be my first time).

But when you write:-
Thank you for answering. I've got to say, I profoundly disgree with that though. Sometimes, people are too ill. There would be no point in, for example, distressing a psychotic patient with a visit from strangers speaking words the patient could not understand or might find frightening just to be able to say 'Oh, well, we did offer Holly the chance to speak in court.'

I read that as meaning that you think medical care is more important than human rights. And, while respecting for your right to your views, I take the opposite view. Given a terminal choice (if it came down to it) between life and principle, I would choose principle. I don't expect most people would but then they say time cures most things. Eventually.

Let us cordially agree to differ on this.

I have replied to say there was no reason not to post that response on the thread, and askedHolly not to PM me again.

WestmorlandSausage Sun 05-Jan-14 00:07:40

In summary (only 7 secs long i promise!)

HollyHB Sun 05-Jan-14 00:16:13

MurderOfGoths wrote: "Please can we agree on that?" No, because of all the reasons already given.

Well if we can't agree that that is the case then can we at least agree that the House of Lords is being told by the enquiry it commissioned that that is the case? (i.e. HoL being told of denial of justice, denial of human rights, etc)

Irrespective of whether or not they are being led astray by the enquiry.

nennypops Sun 05-Jan-14 00:29:41

I'm encouraged by scales' posts to ask once again what is the basis for Holly's assertion that Ms Pacchieri was not seen by a lawyer. Only I've asked twice and been ignored. A phenomenon which, I might add, is strangely familiar.

AGoodPirate Sun 05-Jan-14 03:17:36

What a fascinating thread.

Lioninthesun Sun 05-Jan-14 10:09:24

John the trouble is they are being 'told' a load of made up facts and figures with no backing. So really a lot of time and effort has gone on something about as useful as a chocolate teapot. Next time just ask for funding. If you aren't thrown out on your arse before then!

As for "But no-one is ever too ill or too disabled to be notified that there is legal action being taken against them. No-one is ever too ill or too disabled to be offered a chance to see the evidence being presented. No-one is ever too ill or too disabled to be offered a chance to speak for themselves, even if they are too ill to be able to accept the offer." I beg you to actually meet a person in a psychotic state. As a millionaire MP, I am sure you can pull a few strings to get a free viewing in your own constituency. You might understand why some of us feel you are making a mockery of mental health issues, let alone human rights.

Spero Sun 05-Jan-14 10:27:57

Could I just put in a general plea for a higher quality Conspiracy Theorist please?

there is a lot of energy, experience and intelligence on these threads from various posters. I wonder what we could achieve if we could actually have some sensible debate about the real problems?

Spero Sun 05-Jan-14 10:52:49

Sorry op, ignored your question.

Read what you posted again

Charlotte Haworth Hird, a solicitor who contributed to the submission, said that depriving patients of the right to speak for themselves “can lead to injustice

so Charlotte is concerned that this practice 'can' lead to injustice. She may well be right, depending on how each individual patient is being supported in each individual case.

But again, how was Alessandra Pacchieri treated unjustly in her case? Where is the 'remarkable' breach of the law here?

MurderOfGoths Sun 05-Jan-14 10:58:41

"Well if we can't agree that that is the case then can we at least agree that the House of Lords is being told by the enquiry it commissioned that that is the case?"

Tell you what, you answer Spero's question and I might answer yours

Lioninthesun Sun 05-Jan-14 11:17:27

I'd also like more midwives, maybe the one that Cameron promised all of those years ago that haven't materialised. Could stop a lot of deaths and would be quite nice, you know.
Any more for suggestions of things an MP could be positively putting his mind to, to take to Westminster?

Spero Mon 06-Jan-14 08:05:06

I assume holly will be equally outraged by this?
And tell me it has nothing to do with lack of staff, lack of training etc but it's all down to one big State conspiracy.

Spero Mon 06-Jan-14 08:08:25

And look! It's in Birmingham! What will JH have to say about this I wonder?

KosherBacon Thu 09-Jan-14 12:33:22

Mental" is a common (perhaps Northern) colloquialism for a person whose capacity to make sound decisions is severely impaired by a psychological disorder. It is much shorter to write "mental" than to write "with severely impaired capacity to make sound decisions due to a mental disorder" and almost everyone (though apparently not everyone) is familiar with commonplace English colloquialisms

Having worked "oop north" in mental health for 13 years,mi. An commit that "mental" definitely isn't used as a colloquialism.

BaileyWhite Thu 09-Jan-14 14:55:09

Agreed. There are less convoluted ways of writing about MH problems whilst refraining from toolisms and prejudical comments.

Mummra13 Tue 25-Mar-14 11:31:32

I'm suprised no one has mentioned the report which is now widely availible.

Rather unfortunately it appears that many people actually have had their rights unjustly violated either through incompetence or neglect of the MCA which has been the law for 9 years now. Hopefully with this report health workers and courts will start to learn how to properly implement the MCA.

As for HollyHB brining up Alessandra Pacchieri. I think it is less troubling that the MCA may not have been followed in light that she had been treated for severe schizophrenia and psychosis instead of being treated for severe bi-polar. This would explain why she did not get better in the health trust care yet made a miraculous under the care of her doctors back in Italy. I do not believe it was done in malice, I just think her psychiatrist in England was either very bad at their job or believed schizophrenia and bi-polar are interchangable. The treatment for the two personality disorders are different.

Nennypops Sat 29-Mar-14 12:52:15

Mummra13, the psychiatrist concerned in the Pacchieri case is very reputable, and you are reading far too much into one reference in one judgment to schizophrenia. There was nothing "miraculous" about her cure once in Italy; the simple fact is that, when in England, she was very ill indeed, the treatment they could give her whilst she was pregnant was limited, and there are no overnight cures for bipolar disorder. If she was well several months later, that is not a miracle cure.

Mummra13 Sat 29-Mar-14 15:39:22

I reread Mostyn's judgement. There is no mention of Bi-polar to be found, the reasons given for incapacity are schizophrenia and psychosis. I can not find any refernce to schizophrenia in judge Newton's judgement. The only thing I can think of for the reason is a terrible misdiagnosis that may very well have caused PTSD in this poor woman and a delay in her recovery.

Confusing schizophrenia with bi-polar is not a minor issue as the treatment varies quite a bit between the two. The trust had for weeks after the c-sect which chould have allowed for full treatment without fear of pregnancy.

My hope is that with the new transparency guidelines such cases will be more easily examined for what went right and what might have gone wrong.

Nennypops Sat 29-Mar-14 16:03:28

Not even Ms Pacchieri has suggested that she was misdiagnosed or treated wrongly. Total red herring.

Fortunately the transparency guidelines will not allow the great British public to pore over people's private medical records.

I notice that you're a new poster. It is indeed strange that people getting into this debate always seem to pop up out of nowhere, obsess about it, and then disappear. Anyone would think it was the same person every time.

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