Bryn was 60 years old and lived in supported living. He had severe learning disabilities, epilepsy, was non-communicative and blind. Bryn wasn’t lying down to go to sleep, but was sleeping sitting up in a chair. As this can be an indication of a heart condition, staff at the home called a doctor from the local NHS surgery who came to visit Bryn.

Bryn had an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate who was supporting him. The advocate attended a multiple disciplinary meeting to represent Bryn. At this meeting the GP stated that he would not be arranging a heart scan for Bryn as ‘he has a learning disability and no quality of life’. Bryn’s advocate had attended a BIHR learning event on human rights and challenged the doctor’s decision at the meeting. The advocate raised Bryn’s right to life (protected by Article 2 in the Human Rights Act) and his right to be free from discrimination (protected by Article 14 in the Human Rights Act). The advocate asked the doctor if he would arrange a heart scan if anyone else in the room was in this situation, and the GP said yes he would.

This led to a change in decision and it was agreed that Bryn would have a heart scan. However, the scan was not arranged and the advocate had to raise this three times with the GP and other professionals before the scan eventually took place. Sadly Bryn passed away as a result of his heart condition before any treatment could take place.

Example from Solent Mind, participants in BIHR’s project Care and Support: A Human Rights Approach to Advocacy

This example is also shared in BIHR's booklet Mental Health, Mental Capacity: My human rights