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25th May 2016

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards set for shake-up after Law Commission report

The Law Commission has said there is a compelling case for replacing Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards with a system that is less technical, burdensome and costly.

It published an interim statement after a public consultation on the Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. Care Forum Wales was one of 583 respondents to take part in this. 

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) aim to protect people who lack mental capacity, but who need to be deprived of liberty so they can be given care and treatment in a hospital or care home. If a person’s right to liberty needs to be infringed in other settings, an authorisation must be obtained from the Court of Protection.

  • You can read the interim statement on DoLS here.
  • The DoLS have been criticised since they were introduced for being overly complex and excessively bureaucratic. 

What the Law Commission says on DoLS

In its interim statement the Law Commission says it agrees with the majority of respondents that there is a compelling case for replace DoLS with something less technical, burdensome and costly.  It has decided to restrict the scheme to those who individuals who are deprived of their liberty and not to extend the system to include “protective care”. This was originally considered a helpful preventative measure for those in danger of coming into the system but would add to complexity and administration. 

A final report with recommendations and a draft Bill is due to be published in December 2016. 

Key issues for care homes in the DoLS shake-up

Responsibility for establishing the case for DoLS will move to the commissioner

There will be greater flexibility to enable decision makers to rely on existing care plans rather than having to duplicate assessments.

Coroners will no longer have to be automatically informed of a death unless the medical examiner believes death was attributable to a failure of care - much less distressing for families and reducing work for care homes and coroners.

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