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Mental Capacity Assessments

As you know, a mental health assessment is not without risk.

As often as not, there's the risk that friends or family members will dispute the need for assessment. And of course, once you take the decision to question capacity, there's a risk of long term damage to your relationship with the client.

So here at Atkinson Lewis, we’ll start by discussing the issue and helping you decide whether there's a genuine problem. If your experience suggests to us a significant mental health risk, our Consultant Psychiatrists will be able to carry out a full assessment.

So what signs should you be looking for?
If a relative, friend, or employee has made a decision that you disagree with, it might be frustrating, but it won’t be grounds for a Mental Health Assessment.  But if they’re struggling to make important decisions or to understand their choices, you might have cause for concern.

In this event, it’s important to help them understand. And it's worth asking friends or family to try different ways of explaining the choices available.

If you still have no success – and the decision is critical – then it might be time to carry out a Mental Health Assessment. The NHS can normally arrange this for you within 2-3 months. Or we could complete the full process within the next 7-10 days.

Our Psychiatrists carry out assessments for legal professionals, social services, families and employers. Assessments can be used in a wide variety of circumstances including childcare cases, legal disputes, residential leasing, community care and even HR and employment queries.

View our List of Court of Protection, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards & Mental Capacity Assessments.

What happens during a Mental Health Assessment?
Our Consultant Psychiatrist will follow the UK’s Definition of Mental Capacity, as laid down by the Mental Capacity Act of 2005. They’ll consider the patient’s appearance, behaviour, speech, mood and perception, while testing other cognitive functions such as the ability to retain and process new information.

After talking to the patient at length, the Psychiatrist will draw a conclusion based on the following test criteria:

1. Does the patient understand information that’s relevant to the decision they’re making?
2. Does the patient retain that information after a few minutes or hours?
3. Can the patient apply that information or give it a sense of priority?
4. Can the patient explain their decision, showing an understanding of the alternatives?

Why work with Atkinson Lewis?

Our Psychiatrists are highly respected members of the Medical Community. Each has worked extensively in the field of mental capacity, with experience ranging form financial and medical disputes to complex legal matters such as enduring power of attorney.

Most importantly, all our assessments are subject to anonymous peer reviews, so you can have absolute confidence in the report that we deliver. The results will be wholly impartial, so you and your family or colleagues will find the best possible outcome, without the pain of delays or upheaval.

Our experts are here to lighten the load. Here are some ways we can help:

Psychiatric Assessments

Providing a medical context for challenging behaviour


Psychological Assessments

Personality and behaviour tests for troubled parents and carers



Detecting drug use through hair and urine tests



Establishing alcohol use: blood and breath tests


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