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The use of guardianship in mental handicap services

  • Helen Whitworth (a1) and Shashi Singhal (a1)
Abstract

There has been little published on the use of Guardianship Orders in mental handicap (the term ‘mental handicap’ is used rather than ‘people with learning disability’ to avoid ambiguity). Its use in the mental handicap services in four health districts in the Mersey region was surveyed. The study was retrospective, covering a five year period ending August 1994. Guardianship was used on ten occasions. Health professionals have been divided over the interpretation of the definition of “mental impairment” in the Mental Health Act (MHA) 1983. They have tended to exclude many mentally handicapped adults who do not, in their opinion, exhibit “abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct”. It is clearly shown by our study that some health professionals are willing to classify self-neglect and vulnerability as “seriously irresponsible conduct”, thererefore allowing wider usage of the order.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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References
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Cooke, L. B. (1989) Abuse of mentally handicapped adults. British Medical Journal 229, 392.
Cooke, L. B. (1990) Abuse of mentally handicapped adults. Psychiatric Bulletin, 14, 608609.
Craig, A. (1988) Guardianship survey. Social Services Research, No. 4, 3942.
Dooher, I. (1989) Guardianship under the Mental Health Act 1983, practice in Leicestershire. British Journal of Social Work, 19, 129135.
Fisher, M. (1988) Guardianship under mental health legislation: a review. Journal of Social Welfare Law, 316327.
Grant, W. (1992) Guardianship Orders: a review of their use under the 1983 Mental Health Act. Medicine, Science & the Law, 32, 319323.
Wattis, J. (1990) Use of Guardianship under the 1983 Mental Health Act. Medicine, Science & the Law, 30, 313316.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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The use of guardianship in mental handicap services

  • Helen Whitworth (a1) and Shashi Singhal (a1)
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