Has anyone any knowledge to kindly assist please.
My client is subject to section 3 of the MHA 1983 and is an inpatient in hospital, in Wales. He owns a dog which he describes as ‘his life’. Currently, because nobody else is available, his dog is in kennels which he is paying £14 per day + food for. As you can imagine, this is a significant amount for someone who relies on benefits.
His Social Worker believes that the fees should be paid for whilst client is detained, and has stated S117 should cover this as it is a need that ‘prevents worsening or preventing the recovery’ of the client.
I wondered if anyone could assist with any references to statute to support our argument.
The RSPCA document looks helpful, and also the Welsh version of the MHA Code of Practice briefly mentions pets:
Action when it is decided to make an application
14.80 Before making an application, AMHPs should ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place for the immediate care of any dependent children the patient may have and any adults who rely on the patient for care. Their needs should already have been considered as part of the assessment.
14.81 Where relevant, AMHPs should also ensure that practical arrangements are made for the care of any pets and for the local authority to carry out its other duties under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 to secure the patient’s home and protect their property.
This is based on the original English version, which contains exactly the same text but refers to the Care Act 2014 instead of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.
The s117 duty only commences when eligible patients “cease to be detained and (whether or not immediately after so ceasing) leave hospital” (s117(1)).
The RSPCA document forgets to mention subsection 7 of S47 Care Act: “A local authority may recover from an adult whatever reasonable expenses the authority incurs under this section in the adult’s case.” There tends to be a lot of regional differences in how this is interpreted. Some LAs will offer a short period where they cover all the costs of kenneling and then start billing the person. Others accept partial payment. Others pay the lot then recover the costs later. And some will do different things depending on the person’s capacity at the time of admission. Ask to see the LA’s policy.
Sorry, in Wales the equivalent subsections are 9 and 10 of S58 Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014:
(9)A local authority may recover whatever reasonable expenses it incurs under this section in relation to an adult’s movable property from that adult.
(10)An amount recoverable under subsection (9) is recoverable summarily as a civil debt (but this does not affect any other method of recovery).
My default setting is English. I forgot to click the ‘Welsh’ setting.
Perhaps it’s not a bad thing that it fails to mention that… ? I’ve forwarded the RSPCA info sheet to LAs in the past, and they’ve paid and not tried to recover the money. Good luck, Elzbeth. Let us know how you get on.
Thank you very much Catherine. I really appreciated your help.
Thank you very much Nick. Really appreciated.