Glut of DoLs applications is a good thing, says CQC
Caring Times Latest
Soaring numbers of Deprivation of Liberty applications resulting from last year’s ‘Cheshire West’ Supreme Court ruling are a good thing in the eyes of the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
In its fifth annual monitoring report on the implementation of the deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS), published in late January, the CQC said the Supreme Court had clarified that a person lacking mental capacity to consent to the suggested arrangements was deprived of their liberty if they were both:
• Not free to leave and
• Subject to continuous supervision and control.
As a result, the numbers of applications for use of the deprivation of liberty safeguards has soared, from around 13,000 a year to around 55,000 in the first two quarters of 2014/15.
The report points out that this rise in applications is a good thing, since it shows willingness among providers to protect the rights of individuals, and encourage external scrutiny of their care when a vulnerable person might be deprived of their liberty.
If a provider of health or social care thinks it needs to deprive an adult (aged 18+, who lacks mental capacity to consent to what is proposed) of their liberty to give necessary care or treatment, they must seek authorisation of the deprivation of liberty. Care homes and hospitals can apply to their local authority for use of the deprivation of liberty safeguards.
For all other settings, such as supported living and shared lives, authorisation can only be given by the Court of Protection.
Authorisation is granted only if the proposed course of action is considered to be in the best interests of the person, and there is no less restrictive way to care for them or safely provide treatment they need.
The deprivation of liberty is authorised for the shortest possible time, and provides external scrutiny of the arrangements, as well as enabling the person to challenge the authorisation. CQC chief executive David Behan said both the House of Lords and the Supreme Court had criticised the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards for their bewilderingly bureaucratic complexity.
“I have considerable sympathy with this view, and welcome the decision by government to ask the Law Commission to look for a framework that is simpler, while still protecting peoples’ rights,” said Mr Behan.
“It is essential that all professionals looking after people who are unable to give consent deliver best practice in order to protect their rights.”
- The full report can be found here: hwww.cqc.org.uk/content/deprivation-liberty-safeguards-201314