Running Before We Can Walk: Do We Have the Capacity?

Abstract
Mental competence, or ‘mental capacity’ as it is referred to in recent legislation in the UK, is a concept that is expanding rapidly as a common currency in health and social care services. Neelke Doorn’s “Anthropological Reflection on the Concept of Competence” makes for fascinating and highly relevant reading and the legal and ethical discussions she describes taking place in the Netherlands would appear to echo many of those that have occurred in the UK over the last 5 to 10 years, but with some significant differences. However, Doorn’s new conceptualization of mental competence causes some concerns, particularly if it was to be applied in services currently provided to people where their mental capacity may be ..
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