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Glasgow City Council

Glaswegians urged to put in place a Power of Attorney

Published July 2022

Power of Attorney

Families across Glasgow are being urged to obtain Power of Attorney - a legal document that allows an agreed person to act on their behalf in the event of an emergency, illness or accident.

Recent data shows that only 9% of adults in Scotland have registered a Power of Attorney since 2013.

The Glasgow City Health & Social Care Partnership (GCHSCP) is encouraging people to apply for Power of Attorney (PoA) to ensure they are legally able to make decisions about a loved one's care or business affairs if, for whatever reason, they are unable to themselves.

Power of Attorney is a legal document giving a nominated person the authority to act or make decisions on another person's behalf if that person is no longer able to look after their financial or personal affairs.

Glasgow's campaign to raise awareness of Power of Attorney is underway, with staff from across the health and social care sector prepped and ready to start these conversations with clients and their families.

The campaign, which runs until August, aims to get more people talking about Power of Attorney and increase the numbers within the NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde catchment area (and beyond) who register a Power of Attorney.

Ann Cummings, Chair of the National PoA Steering Group, and Service Manager at Glasgow City HSCP, is confident frontline staff can help get the message out to Glasgow residents.

Ann said: "Our staff and partners in the third sector are well placed to have Power of Attorney conversations. We held a series of workshops and research meetings to find out what barriers there might be for the patients and clients they care for having power of attorney in place.

"Unfortunately, people still wrongly assume their next of kin can make decisions on their behalf should something happen to them, suddenly or without warning, but it's not the case.

"Legally a person must have a Power of Attorney.  Without it, they face a long and stressful process arranging personal and financial matters at a time when emotions are already running high.

"Having a Power of Attorney is a bit like insurance, it's better to be prepared, just in case - to protect yourself and your family."

Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Health, Care & Caring and Older People, welcomed the campaign and hopes it encourages more people to look into arranging PoA sooner than later.

He said: "You might think it's something you don't need to bother with because you have family members, or close friends who'll be there to do that for you, but that's not how it works. When you don't have a Power of Attorney, you're in the hands of people who, while doing their best, can't possibly know what matters most to you.

"It is vitally important to have arrangements like a Power of Attorney in place.  It means there is someone you know and trust who is legally - and without complication or delay - allowed to make decisions on your behalf rather than a stranger. 

"For hundreds of people in Glasgow each year, these decisions are being made on their behalf by someone who's never even met them.  It only leads to further heartache and misery for everyone, and costly for our health and social care system."

Power of Attorney is a legal document.  It requires solicitor involvement.  For people on low income, assistance can be accessed through the city's Community Law Centres or GAIN network.

My Power of Attorney

Published July 2022

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