The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) was fully implemented in October 2007 in England and Wales. This article reports on two similar, but separate, pilot questionnaire studies that examined the experience of consultants in old age psychiatry and consultants in other psychiatric specialities in the early implementation of the MCA pertaining to issues relevant to black and minority ethnic (BME) groups. Fifty‐two (27%) of the 196 consultants in old age psychiatry and 113 (12%) of the 955 consultants in other psychiatric specialities returned useable questionnaires. Eighty per cent or more of the consultants in old age psychiatry and consultants in other psychiatric specialities gave consideration to religion and culture and ethnicity in the assessment of decision‐making capacity (DMC). Almost 50% of the consultants in old age psychiatry reported that half or more of the patients lacking fluency in English or where English was not their first language received an assessment of DMC with the aid of an interpreter and 40% of the consultants in other psychiatric specialities reported that no such patients received an assessment of DMC with the aid of an interpreter.The low rate of using interpreters is of concern. The nature of the consideration and implementation of factors relevant to culture, ethnicity and religion in the application of the MCA and the precise reasons for the low rate of using interpreters in patients lacking fluency in English or English not being their first language require clarification in further studies.
Shah, A., Banner, N., Newbigging, K., Heginbotham, C. and Fulford, B. (2009), "The early experience of consultant psychiatrists in application of the Mental Capacity Act: issues for black and minority individuals", Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 4-10. https://doi.org/10.1108/17570980200900010
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