A lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the donor) appoint one or more (known as attorneys) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.
This gives you more control over what happens to you if, for example, you have an accident or an illness and can't make decisions at the time they need to be made (you 'lack mental capacity').
An attorney should be, according to the Mental Capacity Act, aged 18 or over "who is trustworthy, competent and reliable. They should have the skills and ability to carry out the necessary tasks".
On rare occasions GPs have been asked to act as attorney for their patients. This places the GP in the position of both assessing a patient's mental capacity and then consenting to or refusing treatment on the patient's behalf. This presents an ethical conflict which, in the view of the British Medical Association (BMA), is best avoided.
A "Certificate Provider" is necessary when creating a LPA. There are two types of Certificate Providers: Category A is a knowledge-based Certificate Provider who knows the Donor personally for at least two years. Category B is a skills-based Certificate Provider such as a doctor or solicitor who has the relevant professional skills and expertise to certify the LPA.
GPs can be Category B Certificate Providers but this service is not provided by the NHS. If requested, the service is provided at a cost to the Donor.
In most cases we recommend that you should obtain a Category A Certificate Provider as there are likely to be several people you know well who would be happy to help. You could ask a friend, neighbour or colleague as long as they have known you well for two years.
If you wish to obtain a private service from your GP as a Category B Certificate Provider, please contact reception for an estimate of the fee to be charged.
We hope this short guide has been helpful.