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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-05305: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 5 December 2016

To ask the Scottish Government how long it takes for third-party approval for a Section 47 certificate of incapacity under Part 5 of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000.

Answered by: Maureen Watt 14 December 2016

The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 provides a framework for safeguarding the welfare and managing the finances of adults (people aged 16 or over) who lack capacity due to mental illness, learning disability or a related condition, or an inability to communicate.

Some people are not able to give consent, either permanently or temporarily.

Part five of the Act gives a general authority to treat a patient who is incapable of consenting to the treatment in question, on the issuing of a certificate of incapacity (section 47 certificate). Doctors can issue certificates for a range of medical treatments. Dentists, optometrists and registered nurses, who have specialist training can also issue certificates for treatment related to their speciality.

Section 47 (1A)(a) allows the medical practitioner primarily responsible for the medical treatment of the adult to certify that an adult lacks capacity in relation to medical treatment, and to carry out that medical treatment. Part five defines "medical treatment" to include any procedure or treatment designed to safeguard or promote physical or mental health. If there is a welfare attorney or guardian with the power to consent to treatment then their authority must be sought unless it is impracticable to do so.

There are no official statistics which record the length of time taken to secure authority from a persons relevant attorney or welfare guardian.