Son’s appeal against MHTS’s compulsory treatment order in relation to mother refused

The son of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease who challenged a decision of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland (MHTS) to make a compulsory treatment order (CTO) in relation to his mother has had his appeal refused.

Judges in the Inner House of the Court of Session upheld a ruling of the sheriff principal, who refused the appeal against the tribunal’s decision to make the order, which authorised the detention of the appellant’s mother in hospital and the giving of medical treatment in accordance with the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.

Lord Eassie, Lady Smith (pictured) and Lord Brodie heard that the 81-year-old was suffering from advanced dementia, could not mobilise without assistance, was doubly incontinent and required full nursing care.

However, the appellant “BG” did not agree that his mother “JG” needed to be in hospital.

In November 2013, JG had been able, for the purposes of the 2000 Act proceedings, to express her views to an advocacy worker. They included that she wished to be able to stay in her own home.

However, all three of the doctors who examined her in April and May 2014 reported that she did not have capacity to make decisions regarding her own welfare.

The court heard that in April 2014, the appellant removed his mother from a geriatric, long stay hospital without informing staff and against medical advice, but she was returned to hospital after a detention certificate was granted.

Following a hearing before the MHTS in May 2014 the tribunal granted an interim CTO – for no longer than 28 days – adding that the appellant’s past and proposed approach to JG’s care was of such concern that the Mental Welfare Commission and the Office of the Public Guardian were to be advised of their decision.

A second hearing took place three weeks later on 4 June 2014 before a differently constituted tribunal to consider whether or not a CTO should be granted for a longer period.

The second tribunal found that the appellant genuinely believed that he could safely and effectively care for his mother at home, but issued a CTO, for a period of six months, which was extended for a further six months on 20 November 2014 under section 86 of the 2003 Act.

The appellant presented seven grounds of appeal in arguing that he should be able to care for his mother at home, but the judges were not persuaded that any of the grounds were well founded.

Delivering the opinion of the court, Lady Smith said: “In common with the second tribunal, we have no reason to doubt that the appellant genuinely believes he could care for his mother at home and that that is what the tribunal ought to have decided. To that end, he seeks to have his views given greater weight.

“This court could, however, only interfere if, contrary to the sheriff principal’s assessment, one of the grounds specified in paragraph 17 above in fact applied. We cannot, however, conclude that any of them do.

“On the material before it, the tribunal was entitled to make the findings in fact to which we have referred, it took account of all relevant views, it demonstrably had regard to the relevant statutory principles and the conclusion it reached was one which was, plainly open to it in all the circumstances.

“Further, we cannot, for the reasons we have explained above, conclude that any of the grounds of appeal are well founded. In these circumstances, the appeal is refused.”

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