Care Quality Commission
Increasing numbers of vulnerable people protected
More people than ever before are being protected by Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, part of the Mental Capacity Act that protects the rights of adults in care homes and hospitals who lack mental capacity to make decisions about their care.
In a report published yesterday, we look at implementation of the safeguards since they were introduced in 2009. Applications to use the safeguards over this period rose from 7,200 in the first year, to 13,000 in the year ending in March 2014. The report also shows how this rise increased significantly since March 2014 when the Supreme Court clarified that a person lacking mental capacity to consent is deprived of their liberty if they are both not free to leave, and under continuous supervision and control.
We welcome this rise in applications as it shows willingness among providers to protect the rights of individuals, and encourages external scrutiny of their care when a vulnerable person might be deprived of their liberty.
Our recommendations from the report:
- Local authorities continue to consider the use of advocacy for all those subject to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.
- Local authority leads for the Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards create good working relationships with their local coroners. This is likely to be of great benefit to ensure that a consistent message is given to providers and so that they can work together in dealing with the considerable extra activity as a result of the Supreme Court judgment.
- Local authorities and Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA) providers work together to enable IMCAs to carry out their role to support the person or their unpaid Relevant Person’s Representative (RPR) to challenge an authorisation to the Court of Protection when it is the person’s wish, whatever the IMCA’s views on the rightness of the authorisation.
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