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Making treatment decisions and planning ahead in Northern Ireland

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This section provides information on making your wishes for treatment and care known if you live Northern Ireland.

Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland)

In 2016 the Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) was passed. It has not yet come into force and there is no Code of Practice. Therefore, the definition of capacity is governed by common law. Common law is developed by the courts, instead of by the government in parliament.

This information will be updated when the Act comes into force.

If you live in England or Wales, read our information about making decisions about treatment and care or planning ahead. We also have information about making treatment decisions and planning ahead if you live in Scotland .

6.1 How are treatment and care decisions made in Northern Ireland?

You can make decisions about your treatment and care with the help of your doctor. You also have the right to refuse any medical treatment.

6.2 What happens if I can’t make decisions about my treatment and care and live in Northern Ireland?

If you can’t make decisions for yourself, it’s called not having ‘capacity’. If you lack capacity, the healthcare professional in charge of your care will make treatment decision on your behalf.

6.3 Making my wishes for treatment and care known in Northern Ireland

If you have ideas about what kind of treatment you would want to refuse or accept in specific circumstances, then an Advance Decision (Living Will) may help to ensure your wishes are followed.