Before a health professional – e.g. doctor, nurse or therapist – examines or treats you, they need your consent or permission.
You can give your permission in different ways – by doing something to show you agree with treatment, e.g. offering your arm for an injection; by verbally agreeing to something, or by signing a form.
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the rights of people who are unable to make their own decisions, especially when they need to be deprived of their liberty in their own best interests, need to be protected.
In some circumstances it may be necessary to deprive someone of their liberty in order to give them care or treatment that is in their best interests and protects them from harm.
The Mental Capacity Act 2006 Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards exist to protect people who cannot make decisions about their care and treatment when they need to be cared for in a particularly restrictive way. By following the guideline, hospital staff can ensure that people are deprived of their liberty only when necessary and within the law. Deprivation of liberty depends on the specific circumstances of each individual case.
Royal Berkshire Hospital Foundation Trust