Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) process in Wales needs to be more streamlined
The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) process in Wales must be more streamlined and less bureaucratic if it is to be truly effective, a new report commissioned by the Welsh Government yesterday found.
The joint report by Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) follows the Supreme Court judgement - known as Cheshire West - which significantly expanded the definition of those people receiving state care who should be considered as having their liberty deprived.
This judgement has led to a significant increase in applications for DoLS authorisations and orders throughout Wales, placing increased pressure on statutory bodies.
The CSSIW and HIW report says it is essential all relevant staff have an awareness and understanding of the principles and expectations of the Mental Capacity Act. This will enable them to embed effective care and treatment into everyday practice, especially for vulnerable groups who may need the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.
To support this, a Mental Capacity Act compliance self audit tool will be developed for use by local authorities, health boards and the private sector. Public information leaflets, literature and e-learning for employees, employers and the public will also be updated and disseminated in Wales.
Commenting on the report Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“Being able to make choices, whenever possible, is an essential part of being human. If, however, the capacity to make and communicate decisions begins to be lost it is essential the legal frameworks designed to protect our dignity and human rights are fully employed.
“The joint CSSIW and HIW report shows there are examples of very good practice in Wales relation to the safeguards to support people in challenging circumstances but more can be done.
“But it also states the provisions have been criticised for being overly-complex and excessively bureaucratic. Authorities need to be made more aware of their responsibilities and need to have reliable access to training and ongoing professional support which is focused on their particular role and responsibilities.
“An action plan has been agreed outlining the process for streamlining the DoLS process, to make it both proportionate and protective within the legal parameters and by embedding the Mental Capacity Act in relevant codes of practice.”
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