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Official solicitor raises concern about treatment ‘outcomes’ for mentally ill

UK News | Published:

A barrister instructed by Sarah Castle outlined her worries at a hearing in the Court of Protection on Thursday.

A general view of The Court of Protection and Central Family Court, in central London (Nick Ansell/PA)

Official solicitor Sarah Castle has raised concern about treatment “outcomes” for mentally ill people who also have physical disabilities.

Ms Castle is concerned that people with mental health difficulties and physical disabilities have “worse outcomes” for their physical problems than people who only have physical disabilities, a judge has been told.

A barrister instructed by Ms Castle, whose staff help people with mental health problems who become embroiled in litigation, outlined her concern at a virtual hearing in the Court of Protection, where judges consider issues involving people who might lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves, on Thursday.

David Lock QC told Mrs Justice Roberts that Ms Castle’s concern was “long-standing”.

Ms Castle is representing the man at the centre of the case.

The judge was told that the man had kidney failure and mental health problems.

Hospital bosses say doctors are having difficulties providing dialysis to the man because of his mental health problems.

Medics are concerned about having to sedate or restrain the man and want Mrs Justice Roberts to make decisions about what moves are in his best interests.

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Bosses say a transplant is not currently an option being offered to the man.

Mr Lock said Ms Castle wanted to know why a transplant was not an option and questioned whether doctors were making “reasonable adjustments” for the man’s mental health problems.

He told the judge: “The official solicitor is concerned, and it is a long-standing concern, that individuals with mental health problems, who also have physical disabilities, have much worse outcomes for the treatment of their physical disabilities, than people who just have physical disabilities.”

Mr Lock suggested that the judge would have to decide whether the “right options” were being offered to the man, and added: “The question is whether or not reasonable adjustment has been made.”

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A judge is expected to decide what moves are in the man’s best interests in the near future following further hearings.

Mrs Justice Roberts said the man, who is in his 20s, could not be identified in media reports of the case.

She said bosses at a London hospital were responsible for his care.

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