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I am a Director of Moore & Tibbits and Head of the Health and Community Care Team, having qualified as a solicitor in 2000.
I have over 20 years’ experience advising clients in relation to all aspects of health and social care. I have the legal knowledge, compassion and empathy that enables me to support vulnerable clients, providing advice to both families and other professionals in this niche and highly specialized area of law.
I have recently expanded our multi-disciplinary team which provides a one-stop source of legal advice for health and social care. The Court of Protection team is now one of the largest in the West Midlands. As well as legal professionals, the team also has a Registered General Nurse who was also a former Continuing health care assessor. The skills and legal knowledge of the team ensures that we can provide a “whole” service to our clients to ensure they receive the care and support they are entitled to.
Working closely alongside charities such as Age UK and Alzheimer’s UK, I am regularly instructed to provide advice to people who are involved in caring and supporting those who lack mental capacity to make certain decisions. Representing individuals with mental disorders or degenerative conditions such as autism, dementia, a stroke, brain injury or leaning difficulties, I have an understanding of the practical, real life challenges many families and individuals face. I also have a particular interest in working with young people and their families as they transition from Children to Adult services as I have first-hand experience in securing the right level of support for my own son.
I represent people in making applications to the Court of Protection to manage people’s property and finances or to make health and welfare decisions. I am regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor, advocacy organisations and family members to represent the interests of individuals who lack the mental capacity to make their own decision on a specific issue. I am also regularly appointed by the court to act as a Professional Deputy.
A recent contested notable case where I was the appointed Deputy can be viewed here: DA v EP & Ors (COP- Deprivation of Liberty/Welfare)  EWCOP 74 (28 February 2020)
In addition, myself and the team are regularly invited to provide training to charities and support groups and also provide legal clinics throughout Warwickshire.
I regularly attend best interest meetings and am often involved in challenging local authority or Integrated Care Board (ICB)’s decisions, particularly when these are influenced by a lack of resources and result in cuts to packages of care or possible changes to where someone is living.
Recent examples of Debbie’s work includes:
- Representing a mother who was challenging the placement of her adult son who had autism. As there was no Power of Attorney, it was argued that the mother did not have the right to ask for her son to be moved. The Care Home argued that it was detrimental to move the son and did not accept there were any failings in the care provided. The Primary Care Trust repeatedly delayed dealing with the complaint. Debbie was instructed to represent the family and without having to refer the matter to court, successfully argued that it was not in the son’s bests interests to remain living at the Home and a new placement should be found.
- Representing the wife of an elderly man suffering from Parkinson’s and other complex health needs. Continuing healthcare funding was awarded but the family were not happy with the choice of the three Care Homes deemed suitable. Debbie successfully argued that the family had the right to choose a Care Home of their choice and the needs of the wife and her ability to maintain a relationship with her husband should be given proper consideration.
- On behalf of the Local Authority, Debbie was asked to make an application to the Court of Protection to be appointed Deputy and invite the Court to revoke an existing Power of Attorney due to concerns the Attorney was financially abusing his relative. The Court Order was made and further criminal proceedings then ensued against the Attorney.
- Debbie was requested to become a Deputy for a 92 year old lady’s property and affairs. The lady, who was in a care home wished to return to her own home where she had previously been cared for by her son. Both the lady and her son however, had significant hoarding tendencies. There were concerns about the home environment being suitable and both lacked capacity in certain areas, including making decisions regarding their items and belongings (the hoarding). This case remains ongoing whilst the lady has a trial at home, which the court deemed was in her best interests.
- Debbie again was requested by the Local Authority to apply to the Court to become Deputy for a gentleman who was no longer able to manage his affairs. The gentleman had become reconciled with his ex-wife and wanted to enjoy contact with her and move in with her. There was grave concern as to whether the gentleman had capacity to make such decisions and there was a dispute as to where he should live. Debbie successfully argued that to compel him to stay in the current placement would amount to a deprivation of his liberty and although we accepted he did not have insight into his care needs and should remain in 24 hour care, the suitable home should be close to his wife so that they would continue to enjoy one another’s company. It was eventually accepted that just because the gentleman lacked capacity to manage finances and had little insight as to his care needs, did not mean that he did not have the right to choose who he should have contact with. Eventually the gentleman was moved out of County and was placed in a care home just a mile away from his ex-wife who then visited him daily for years until the gentleman died. Had he stayed in Warwickshire it was unlikely he would have had any visitors.
If you have any questions regarding the level of support you or a loved one is receiving or how it is funded, please call me for a free initial telephone consultation on 01926 354704 to discuss your options.
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