Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

28th November 2018

Who is qualified to complete the MCA?

Hi Sheila, who is qualified to complete the MCA?


Dear M,


Thank you for your question.


There are four pieces of advice I can give you about the Assessment of Mental Capacity.


The first is that anyone doing the assessment should understand the Mental Capacity Act legislation and have had appropriate training.


The second is that any decisions that are made should be properly recorded.


The third important point is that it is widely recognised that the more complex the decision the more important it is that the views of other interested parties should be sought and taken into account.


The fourth point is that where the decision relates to health care the lead doctor should, having taken into account the views of others, make the final decision.


You may be interested to read these two documents:


Assessing Capacity from the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) website.


One paragraph from this document says:


Anyone caring for or supporting a person who may lack capacity could be involved in assessing capacity – follow the two-stage test. The MCA is designed to empower those in health and social care to do capacity assessments themselves, rather than rely on expert testing by psychiatrists or psychologists – good professional training is key. However, in cases involving complex or major decisions you may need to get a professional opinion. This could be a general practitioner (GP) or a specialist (consultant psychiatrist or psychologist).


The Office of the Public Guardian website also has a booklet published in 2009: Making decisions A guide for people who work in health and social care.


A paragraph from that says: You will not normally make an assessment of capacity without involving family, friends and/or carers or an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) if one has been appointed (see part 8). This will depend on the situation and the decision that needs to be made. You should never express an opinion, without first conducting a proper assessment of the person’s capacity to make a decision.


I hope this is helpful.


With best wishes.




*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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