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Local authorities and health boards in Wales struggle with the increase of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards applications

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards were established in 2009 and apply to people who lack the ability to consent to treatment or care in either a hospital or care home and can only be provided where detention under the Mental Health Act 1983 is not appropriate.

In 2014, the House of Lords published a report of the Mental Capacity Act that concluded that the Safeguards were not fit for purpose and recommended that a comprehensive review be undertaken by the Law Commission. The review found that local authorities and the NHS were struggling to meet their legal obligations and people living in other settings such as supported living, were being left unprotected.

The report published today, the seventh annual report on the operation of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) in Wales, finds that the provision of additional resources and improved operating practices have had only a limited impact in improving the operation of the DoLS system.

Key findings

 

  • Continued increase in the total number of DoLS applications received by health boards and local authorities
  • Health boards saw the biggest increase in number of applications received
  • 74% of applications relating to urgent authorisations exceeded the seven day timeframe for processing
  • 2 local authorities did not meet the timescale for assessment on any of the urgent applications they received
  • Health Boards received more urgent applications than local authorities with an average of over 60% of all applications being urgent
  • The volume of urgent applications resulted in longer delays before a decision could be made
  • Urgent applications were prioritised over standard applications and that had a negative impact on standard applications processing times
  • The length of time that authorisations are in place have increased since 2014-15