State of Care: deprivation of liberty safeguards

In this year’s State of care annual report, CQC highlights its concerns about specific service areas, in particular ongoing problems with the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards process.

In this third posting in our blog series on the regulator's State of care report, we look at the issues concerning DoLS - set out in chapter 4, pages 72-77. 

CQC are concerned that ongoing problems with the process mean that some people are at risk of being unlawfully deprived of their liberty with no safeguards, rights or protection in place. In particular, they have continuing concerns around:

  • The knowledge and understanding of staff about DoLS and the quality of training
  • Poor Mental Capacity Act assessments
  • Delays and backlogs in applications

Looking at specific settings:

  • In adult social care, they express concerns at the high numbers of registered managers leaving therefore creating a knowledge gap around DoLS with less experienced managers lacking an understanding about the need to apply for DoLS, particularly when previously granted authorisations had expired.
  • In mental health hospitals, they see how lack of training means staff have difficulty in understanding the interface between the Mental Health Act, Mental Capacity Act and DoLS.

Statistics are set out in detail at page 74, with two worth noting:

  • Figures for DoLS are rising in adult social care but still below 2019/20 levels
  • The average length of time to complete a DoLS applications is 153 days!

You can read our first blog summarising the CQC's key messages here and our second blog on learning disability and autism here.

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