The Mental Capacity Act and benevolent deception under the guise of ‘best interests’
Gary Watt Continuing care nurse assessor, Nottinghamshire Teaching Primary Care Trust
Lying to a client is fundamentally wrong. But are there rare occasions when ‘benevolent deceit’ may be considered appropriate, if it is in the best interests of someone with a learning disability who lacks capacity? By describing some forms of benevolent deception, Gary Watt hopes to prompt reflection, rather than to undermine choice and control for people who lack capacity
The Mental Capacity Act (2005) provides a statutory framework underpinned by a desire to protect and empower people who are not able to make their own decisions, and who therefore rely on others to help with decision-making on their behalf. Practitioners in the field of learning disabilities are therefore under a duty to have regard for the workings of the Act and its associated code of practice.
Learning Disability Practice. 11, 3, 42-45. doi: 10.7748/ldp2008.04.11.3.42.c6476