Can a hospital refuse to accept LPA?

I have encountered a strange situation.

After Graham suffered his stroke we both decided we need to arrange for Lasting Power of Attorney and this was duly arranged through the Court of Protection and all legally Registered with the Court. We have certified copies available should a physical copy be required.

We’ve experienced some issue with a local hospital with staff demanding that Graham gives verbal consent on every occasion they deal with us. I have pointed out that sometimes he is resting or is so physically or mentally tired that he is unable to speak to someone on the phone yet they demand and refuse to deal with me until he speaks with them - on one occasion lying in bed mumbling into the mouthpiece ‘this is Graham - speak to Chris’.

We have provided a printed copy of the LPA previously but this seems to have got ‘lost’ somewhere amongst one of his files…

I queried the situation with PALS and have had a reply saying that it is the hospital policy to obtain verbal consent from a patient on every call or admission as “some patients although there is an LPA in place still have the capacity to provide consent.”

Surely once an LPA has been obtained and is fully Registered it is in place to cover such eventualities as this. Graham has capacity a lot of the time but fatigue overcomes him quite suddenly and he then loses focus and even if he gives consent he may not be able to recall having done so. Once I finished a call after he had to mumble at them and he turned to me and said ‘who was that you were speaking to?’ He hadn’t a clue even though he had sad ‘yes, speak with Chris’… Given that situation - how can he give consent?

They have said if I provide ANOTHER printed copy they will attach it to his electronic record but cannot guarantee that staff will see this!!!

Has anyone else experienced this situation? I am amazed that they have such a policy as it means they are prepared to ignore a Legal Document duly signed, witnessed and Registered with a Court!

Chris there are 2 types oif Power of Attorney - the most common one is for finances/property. The 2nd one is for health and welfare which is the one that the hospital would be most interested in - do you have both or only the first ?

Hi Chris, I’m going to assume - per @susieq’s question that you have both LPAs.

Actually, it’s not so strange in what i’ve encountered - a few explainers

  1. the health and welfare LPA quote 'It can only be used if you’re unable to make your own decisions.’ - here’s the nhs link: Giving someone power of attorney - Social care and support guide - NHS

  2. So, if G has taken decisions or you’ve interchangeably voiced points, PLUS they have no LPA on their system or file then any hospital appointments caller takes the conservative, unique snapshot comms call as needing to talk to Graham - Ie. filing system is terrible, no continuity of information and following exact letter of their system (for good or bad)

  3. I’m assuming it’s only YOU as single attorney, on the LPA. In our case, once Mum and Dad had relinquished each other being each other’s attorney, I was sole attorney for both and a) carried around a printed copy b) as Mum was diagnosed with the 2 cancers just a month before Dad passed c) I became the one voice for all decisions

  4. It still took a couple of months for my ‘carer’ of mum status and LPA to filter but repetition of cancer therapy, appointments, comms etc meant acknowledgment of me overseeing everything took hold quickly

  5. With regards to Dad, it was a few years of countless interactions that established LPA to Mum and I

Bottom line - Can you write a letter stating ‘G is officially wanting YOU to make decisions (relinquishes himself from taking decisions - choose whatever reason you both want to say) because he is confident you will make the decisions he wants, and here’s the LPA’, get G to sign it, get a copy of the LPA - print copies of the letter & LPA multiple times and provide it to GP, Hospital and have a copy alongside your other summary info (I put it in our go-bag)
Think of it as a multichannel comms strategy like you used to do :wink:

It may seem overkill and illogical - but it fits in with what I know.

We have both - covered all eventualities.

Been accepted by GP, Eye Hospital and another main hospital in Bristol but the one in question is a different Health Authority which we find has dreadful communications. I have to carry a copy when G is an inpatient but that’s no good if I have to call on his behalf or if they call us. I have now taken to lying and saying I am Graham!!! I can give his dob etc so pass the ‘security checks’… It is so silly

As I replied to Victoria GP Dentist and other hospital shav eno problem but this one is dreadful

I’ve just had a look at the lpa I have for health stuff, it says my lpa can make decisions if I lack the mental capacity to do so. It seems silly that they aren’t accepting you to be able to answer if you are there. I’ve been to numerous meetings and appointments with mum, most I’ve ever been asked if is if I have an lpa and that’s it… I would say the covering letter and taking the documents with you sounds like a good idea, but I can imagine it’s frustrating and not nice having to argue just to get the best care for G.

I know it’s a stupid situation. Graham suffers from terrible fatigue and there are days when he cannot deal with any form of admin - neither of us can predict these and nor can we say ‘hang on I will get him to tell you yesterday that he is unwell today’…

It makes everything so much more difficult. I HAVE lied when phoning them and pretended to be him to avoid the issue, but I don’t like doing that s it is wrong. He had to change an appointment a few years back when we were running our clinic - a letter was waiting for him when we got home on Thursday evening detailing and appointment at 9am on Monday - there was no way he could move a whole clinic in time so I rang. Refused to speak to me even though I explained he was with his own patients and could not wait for 15 minutes to get an answer and that if he waited til Monday morning to try again (they only opened the line from 9-12 mon-Fri) they would have a wasted appointment. She refused and hung up on me. I waited five minutes and rang back claiming to be him - no security questions were asked and the appointment was changed without question!!! I beggars belief really…

LPA for finances can be activated immediately, before the individual loses capacity to decide about their finances and property.

LPA for health and welfare does not have that provision. The individual has to have lost capacity. And this is the problem: the hospital should turn to you when they judge that G has lost capacity at that time, but if they’re phoning up, etc., they won’t know. And the law says they have to assume that G has capacity.

A simple suggestion that sometimes works: G signs a letter authorising you to act on his behalf as he cannot always concentrate long enough to give them authority if they contact at a bad time or after a journey to the hospital. Keep a copy with you (along with a printed LPA) whenever you go, and hopefully that will do the job.