New liberty protection laws to replace DoLS
Proposed new legislation would replace Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) with a new system – Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS), a set of checks that aim to make sure that any care which restricts a person’s liberty is in their best interests.
Government says the reform will offer a more efficient and effective system which better takes into account people’s past and present wishes for care and treatment. The proposed changes follow a series of recommendations published by the Law Commission last year, criticising DoLS as being too bureaucratic and complex.
The Government is consulting with health and social care stakeholders to finalise the plans before introducing new legislation. Care minister Caroline Dinenage said the Government broadly accepted the recommendations made by the Law Commission and would replace DoLS in a bid to provide better care for people and increase access to the safeguards.
“For too long we have been too slow to act in the best interests of some of the most vulnerable people in society who cannot look after themselves,” said Ms Dinenage.
“We are rightly overhauling the bureaucratic and complex DoLS system to give carers and families a greater say in the care of loved ones and provide greater protections for those who need it most.”
The proposed new safeguards aim to: – Produce a more efficient and effective system, increasing access to safeguards for more people;
- Provide a more flexible and efficient approach to all relevant settings, including hospitals, care homes and care in the community;
- Streamline the process so people will not need new authorisations for every setting as they move between care homes and hospitals, for example;
- Strengthen the weight placed on the past and current wishes and feelings of people on the care or treatment they would like to receive;
- Strengthen the involvement and input of family members and carers into any decision;
- Reduce the frequency with which a person has to be reviewed.
An LPS authorisation will last for a period of up to 12 months and can be renewed for a second period of up to 12 months and, thereafter, for periods of up to three years. An LPS authorisation will be used when a person lacks the mental capacity to consent to care arrangements. Hospital trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups and local authorities will have to complete a number of medical assessments prior to an LPS being authorised. The independent Approved Mental Capacity Practitioner role in the new model will review decisions if a person objects to care arrangements.