The latest figures on applications to legally deprive a person of their liberty, where that person lacks the mental capacity to consent to their care or treatment, have been published by NHS Digital today.
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) is a legal procedure when an adult who lacks mental capacity to consent to their care or treatment is deprived of their liberty in a care home or hospital, in order to keep them safe from harm. In England, all deprivations of liberty that take place in a care home or hospital must be independently assessed and authorised by a local authority to ensure they are in the person’s best interests.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, England, 2020–21 report provides information on applications for DoLS, including:
- How many applications were received and completed by local authorities
- The time taken to process DoLS applications
- Reasons for applications not being granted
The report also contains information on the demographic profile of people for whom a DoLS application was made, as well as both the planned and actual duration of authorisations granted by local authorities.
During the coronavirus pandemic period, which this publication covers, some aspects of the DoLS process have changed due to new Government guidance. This includes greater use of remote assessments and shortened forms. The impact of coronavirus on DoLS has not explicitly been measured, but these changes may be reflected in the data.
NHS Digital’s chief statistician Chris Roebuck said: ‘This publication provides useful insight into Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, which apply an important legal process to protect vulnerable people.
‘The report shows detailed information on the use of this framework, while data broken down to local authority level can be easily accessed through our interactive Adult Social Care Analytical Hub.’