All Party Parliamentary Group on Hospice and Palliative Care
Dr Isky Gordon and I were present at a well-attended meeting of the APPGHPC on 14 March at the House of Commons on the topic of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and End of Life Care. This was chaired by Baroness Ilora Finlay, Chair of the National Mental Capacity Forum, who introduced a new video about the Act.
There were contributions about Lasting Powers of Attorney and Advance Decisions from Dr Caroline Stirling, Clinical Director of End of Life Care for NHS England (London), and Dr Sam Kyeremateng, Medical Director of St Lukes’s Hospice, Sheffield. Both advocated advance care planning, taking advantage of the provisions of the MCA. However, Advance Decisions to refuse treatment remain poorly understood by many doctors, and there was a lack of consistency in how those responsible for End of Life Care took account of the Act, which was not embedded in clinical care.
This All Party Group provides a forum for airing policy issues related to End of Life Care. The National Mental Capacity Forum should serve a useful purpose. However, healthcare practice lags considerably in utilising the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act.