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OPG speeds up response to NHS regarding powers of attorney

The government has introduced a new process to speed up the time it takes for NHS and local authority staff to find out if a patient has a registered power of attorney and who the attorneys or deputies are.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus/COVID-19, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has received an increasing number of requests for information regarding people who have lost mental capacity.  The OPG holds the register of everyone who has a lasting power of attorney (LPA) or enduring power of attorney (EPA), or who has a deputy acting for them and, hence, details of their attorneys or deputies.

The standard time for dealing with a request is five days.  The new process aims to ensure that requests made from Monday to Friday by the NHS will receive a response within 24 hours, although information relating to EPAs may take longer as information on them is not held electronically. Requests made over the weekend will be dealt with on Monday.  Requests must come from an official email address, such as or @gov.UK.  They must be sent to the specific email address and must include the subject line ‘Covid-19’, the sender’s email signature, job title and team, and a request in the format specified by the OPG, which is shown below:

Dear OPG

Please search the OPG registers for any instrument for this person:

Date of Birth:

I require this information to assist with: (delete as applicable)

  • moving this person out of hospital care to an alternative setting in order to release their bed for care of patients affected by Covid-19
  • ascertaining best interest treatment decisions for an individual who is in hospital due to infection with Covid-19
  • ascertaining best interest decisions for an individual affected by Covid-19 whilst undertaking my statutory safeguarding duty

I cannot get this from the individual as they do not have mental capacity.

The OPG will advise the person requesting the information whether there is an LPA, EPA or deputyship in place, and if there is, the following information will be given:

  • Whether it relates to health and welfare and not just property and finances
  • The registration date – or court order date if it is a deputyship
  • Names and contact details of attorneys or deputies
  • Details of any restrictions within the power of attorney or court order
  • How many attorneys/deputies there are and how they are appointed to act
  • Whether the attorney has authority relating to the donor’s life-sustaining treatment
  • Whether the power of attorney has been revoked
  • When any court order is due to expire

If you require any assistance relating to drafting a power of attorney, or you are an attorney or deputy and need assistance carrying out your duties, please don’t hesitate to contact our experts.  We are all working safely, from home, and can deal with your enquiry by telephone, video call or email.  You can get further information on lasting powers of attorney and can find out more about how the coronavirus crisis might have changed your duties as an attorney on our website.  If you are over 70 years old, we can draft an ordinary power of attorney for you free of charge during the crisis.  Find out more here.

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