GPs warned to take out insurance for mental capacity assessments

Doctors should take out additional insurance if they carry out mental capacity assessments of patients who may need to be detained in a care home or hospital, the Medical Defence Union (MDU) has warned.

Credit: Jim Varney
Credit: Jim Varney

New legislation, which came into effect last week, defines who is eligible to assess whether patients should be detained and whether they have the capacity to give consent.

The new regulations make clear that doctors who only have discretionary indemnity are no longer eligible to carry out such assessments.

‘These regulations clearly state that those carrying out assessments of patients must be insured and satisfy the relevant supervisory body that this is the case,’ said deputy MDU chief executive Dr Christine Tomkins.

She added that she welcomed the change as recognition that ‘only an insurance contract provides the necessary assurance for patients that they will be compensated if they are negligently harmed.’

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