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Keywords:

  • care givers;
  • clinical research;
  • legal issues;
  • mental health;
  • psychotropic medications

A client attending a depot clinic in a mental health setting requested that her husband be enabled to give her injection. This request was followed up in a practice development project. Following the success of the project, the local National Health Service (NHS) Mental Health Trust supported a research project to explore the issues raised further. The Local Research Ethics Committee raised a question around carer liability. This question led to a 2-year liaison with the NHS Litigation Authority, the local NHS Trust's legal team, Royal College of Nursing and others. The journey clarified that liability for a carer was covered under the Third Party Liability Scheme, where the carer came under the umbrella of being an ‘authorised voluntary worker’. While the experience delayed the research project, it was a significant learning opportunity in the NHS ethical approval system.