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‘K’ Healthcare Ruling ‘Demonstrates Vital Role Of Court Of Protection’

Judge Rules NHS Trust Can Provide Treatment To Woman


By Rob Dixon

A ruling which has seen an NHS Trust granted permission to carry out treatment on a patient who suffers from a learning disability and has a fear of hospitals demonstrates the “vital role” that the Court of Protection plays in cases which raise serious ethical dilemmas, according to a lawyer.

Mr Justice Moylan ruled that it is in the best interests of the 53-year-old woman, who is known as K and lacks capacity to make decisions for herself, to have treatment for a persistent pain in her stomach following concerns there could be a risk of cancer.

The judge added that he felt it was in K’s best interests to be escorted to hospital and undergo treatment under a general anaesthetic which is likely to identify the cause of her current symptoms.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Public Law team represent people in relation to a range of health and social care issues, including working to ensure patients are available to access the care and support they need.

According to Mathieu Culverhouse, a lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office who specialises in Court of Protection issues, there were important issues raised by the case of K.

He explained: “This case highlights the vital role of the Court of Protection in determining cases where a serious ethical issue arises in relation to medical treatment for people who are felt not to have the capacity to make decisions for themselves. 

“Those working in the health and care professions should always be mindful of the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act, under which this case was decided.

“It is vital that they remember that difficult cases, where it may not be clear what is in the person's best interests, can be referred to the Court of Protection, where a judge will hear the evidence and make declarations as to the appropriate course of action."

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in relation to Social and Healthcare Law and Court Of Protection