An NHS Trust v Dr A

The Honourable Mr Justice Baker gave judgment in the case An NHS Trust v Dr A following a long process. The application was issued in January but the judgment was only published at the end of August 2013.

The judgment sets out the relationship between the Mental Health Act (MHA), the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and the court’s inherent jurisdiction to make orders in respect of individuals who may lack capacity, where they do not fall within the scope of the other two acts. It also urges caution with regard to the use of section 63 of the MHA to authorise treatment for physical disorder for patients detained due to mental disorder.

This case examines whether force feeding under the MHA can be permitted under section 63 and concluded that it could not in the circumstances of Dr A’s detention. Partly, this was because the treating trust did not ‘see food as a treatment for his mental illness’…

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