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Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to enable carers to (a) attend general practitioner consultations with those for who they care and (b) speak to general practitioners on behalf of such persons. (290392)

The Government have no current plans to change the arrangements for carers attending general practitioner (GP) consultations with, or speaking to GPs on behalf of, those for whom they care.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 enshrines in statute a presumption that every adult has the capacity to make his or her own decisions. It is for individuals with capacity, who have carers, to decide whether they want their carer to attend a GP consultation or to speak to a GP on their behalf.

Where a person does not have capacity to make such a decision, the Mental Capacity Act will come into effect. Those caring for the person may need to attend the GP consultation and/or speak to the GP on behalf of the person lacking capacity. Where they do so, the GP has no new obligation to share confidential information with the carer so will need to exercise his or her judgment as to what information they need to share if any about the health care needs of the person they are caring for.