Medication Pathway

Section D Challenging the decision to prescribe medication

The law

The principles for adults outlined above are part of the Mental Capacity Act (2005). This law also enables family carers to apply for extra rights to make decisions on behalf of their family member, in a role called legal deputyship. People appointed as deputies are able to take a lead in making decisions in agreed areas. The role relevant to medication is the Personal Welfare Deputy, which can give the deputy powers to make decisions about healthcare.

A child or adult’s rights change if they are detained in a hospital or unit under the Mental Health Act (often called ‘sectioned’). The doctor responsible for their care is able to make decisions about their treatment, including what medication they will take. The doctor can give treatment against the wishes of the patient if necessary. The family member who qualifies as the Nearest Relative has some specific rights during the individual’s detention under the Mental Health Act, but these do not include involvement in decisions about treatment.