• rachelbettany


Staffordshire based advocacy service, ASIST (Advocacy Services in Staffordshire) has been informed that funding of a successful and innovative hospital advocacy service is no longer available.

Current funding allows a targeted service based within Queens Hospital (Burton) and Royal Stoke University Hospital (Stoke-on-Trent) aimed at raising awareness and compliance of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards 2007 to ensure that hospital patients are afforded their rights under legislation.

Natalie Brown, IMCA Coordinator at ASIST explained “The Independent Mental Capacity Advocate ( IMCA) service is a statutory form of advocacy under the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and includes functions within the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS). In short, people who do not have capacity to consent to treatment, or to make important decisions have a legal right to an IMCA when they have no friends or family to support them.

Nationally, it has been highlighted that there is a lack of awareness and compliance with the MCA in acute healthcare settings. The hospital IMCA service allows a targeted provision aimed at addressing these issues. Currently local authorities are responsible for commissioning IMCA provision, extra resources provided by South East Staffs and Seisdon Peninsula Clinical Commissioning Group (SES&SP CCG ) has allowed the creation and development of the project which has been possible due to the proactive stance taken.”

Su Nevitt, Project Worker states “The project has been able to work quickly, targeting wards likely to work with individuals entitled to IMCA support. The project has carried out numerous awareness sessions, supported medical staff with implementing the appropriate legislation and created practical resources that staff are using on the wards”.

Cathy Jones, CEO at ASIST said Securing funding within the current financial climate can be extremely difficult. We are extremely proud of the innovative work the pilot project has been able to achieve so far. We value the opportunity of partnership working that SES&SP CCG has enabled. Commissioners have expressed that their inability to continue funding is regrettable and not an indication of the projects viability or success, but a result of unavoidable budget constraints and are supporting us in our quest to source alternative funding.

The project has been given three months’ notice, meaning it is due to end January 2016 unless alternative funding arrangements can be made. We are determined to rally support for the continuation of this pioneering project, which is a national first.”

Posted 27th Nov 2015

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Asist provides specialist independent advocacy support focused on one-to-one, issue based advocacy services for people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and/or mental health issues.


Advocacy is about enabling people who have difficulty speaking out to speak up and make their own, informed, independent choices about decisions that affect their lives.


Asist provides the Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy service (IMCA) and the Independent Mental Health Act Advocacy service (IMHA) in Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent. Asist also offers advocacy to people in Stoke on Trent through a number of specialist projects including Care Act, BME, NHS Complaints and Parents Advocacy.

Asist is nationally recognised for developing, writing and promoting the Watching Brief guidance which outlines the core principles that underpin all Non-Instructed Advocacy support services across the UK.

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