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Publication of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards annual monitoring report for health and social care, 2014-15

Ourselves and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) have jointly published the sixth annual monitoring report on the use of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) in Wales.

The Safeguards apply to people over the age of 18 who can’t consent to treatment or care in a hospital or care home.

DoLS were developed to ensure people’s human rights are protected and maintained and the care they receive is in their best interests and delivered in the least restrictive way.

The Safeguards provide a legal framework for deprivations to prevent breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Changes in law

Our report, published today, covers a period that saw a significant increase in the number of applications, following a ruling by the Supreme Court which has become known as the Cheshire West case.

In March 2014, the House of Lords published a post-legislative scrutiny report of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, which concluded that DoLS processes had been poorly implemented, and called for a number of improvements and wider application of the Safeguards.

Findings

The 2014-15 monitoring report reflects an unprecedented level of DoLS activity following the Cheshire West Supreme Court ruling.

Whilst the increase in activity is not surprising, the scale of the increase is significant. The volume of activity described in this report and the apparent consequences for DoLS application processing times may have real consequences for people.

Imelda Richardson, Chief Inspector of CSSIW commented:

I would encourage local authorities and health boards to take stock of the findings of this report and consider how the increase in DoLS applications may impact on those receiving care and support.
In light of forthcoming legislation placing increasing emphasis on wellbeing, it is vital that we continue to ensure processes are in place to protect the liberty and independence of people using services. 
Failure to consider the points outlined in this report could have very real consequences for people receiving care.

Commenting on the latest monitoring report, Kate Chamberlain, Chief Executive, HIW said:

These safeguards are protecting the rights of some of the most vulnerable people in Wales who lack the capacity to make decisions about their care and treatment.
I am pleased to say this report indicates that awareness of those safeguards is increasing.

HIW and ourselves have been monitoring and reporting on the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards since the legislation was introduced in 2009.

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