Use of Power of Attorney in Scotland

Rajdeep Routh, Catriona Macneil, Graham Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims
Power of Attorney as a form of surrogate decision making was introduced within the Adults with Incapacity, Scotland Act (2000) to help individuals who lack mental capacity due to illnesses like dementia. Even after a decade, little was known if it has been useful. We sought to find out how useful the power of attorney document has been so far in supporting people when they lose their capacity and identify any barriers.

Methods and results
We did a survey and approached a random sample of 5000 attorneys in Scotland. A total of 1226 attorneys responded; 59% of the respondents had never used their powers but still considered it useful for ‘peace of mind’. For the majority, the costs of arranging a power of attorney ranged in between £150 and £300.

The study confirms that power of attorney is useful to safeguard interests of people when they lose capacity. Costs remain a big barrier. Further studies are required to understand the long-term impact of providing financial support to arrange a power of attorney at an early stage on reducing delayed discharges in hospitals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-123
Number of pages5
JournalScottish Medical Journal
Issue number3
Early online date1 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • dementia
  • capacity
  • delayed discharge
  • surrogate decision making


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