New procedure to speed up NHS staff searches for Attorneys and Deputies

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The Government has announced a simplified process that allows NHS staff to search the Office of the Public Guardian’s (OPG) register for registered Attorneys and Deputies.

The OPG holds a register with the details of all Deputyship Orders and registered Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) and Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs).

Since the coronavirus outbreak, there has been an increased amount of urgent requests to search the database to check Attorney or Deputy details for people who have lost mental capacity.

Powers of Attorney (POA) are legal documents that enable you to appoint people (Attorneys) to act on your behalf. EPAs and LPAs allow your Attorneys to act or continue acting for you in you do not have mental capacity. An EPA only provides authority in relation to a person’s property and financial affairs. An LPA can provide authority both in relation to property and financial affairs and health and welfare (although these are two separate documents).

A Deputyship is a Court Order that appoints a suitable person (the Deputy) to make financial or health decisions on behalf of a person without mental capacity if they do not have a valid EPA or LPA.

The OPG has specified that requests will only be accepted from official email addresses, such as @nhs.uk or @gov.uk. They will aim to respond to requests made between Monday and Friday within 24 hours, although it may take slightly longer for EPAs.

In response to their request, the NHS staff will be informed whether an LPA, a registered EPA or Deputyship court order is in place.

If there is one, they will also be told:

  • if it is for health and welfare (some relate only to property and finances)
  • the date it was registered (LPA/EPA) or the date of the court order
  • names and contact details of Attorneys or Deputies
  • if there are restrictions on the POA or the court order
  • if an Attorney has authority over Life-Sustaining Treatment for the Donor (only for health and welfare LPAs)
  • where there are multiple Attorneys or Deputies, how they are appointed to act
  • if the LPA, EPA or Deputyship has been cancelled, revoked or expired
  • the expiry date of any court order.

Further information

If you would like to discuss Powers of Attorney or Deputyships further or to seek advice on your role as Attorney or Deputy, please contact Ashtons Legal through this website or call 0330 404 0755 and ask to speak to a member of our Lifetime Planning team.

We will be happy to talk all of this through with you by telephone, or using video conferencing via Microsoft Teams, FaceTime or WhatsApp.

Of course, once the Coronavirus lockdown is over we will be able to meet with you in one of our offices.


This information is correct at 9.00am on 8 April 2020.


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