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Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards to be routine in CQC checks

Plan should protect vulnerable in care homes and hospitals

Jo Carlowe

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Checks on the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) are to become a routine part of hospital and care home inspection, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has announced today.

In its fourth annual report into the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), CQC says these checks will become an integral part of its new approach to regulation, as it implements its fresh strategy Raising standards, putting people first.

The MCA sets out how people in vulnerable circumstances should be cared for and how to strike the balance between respect for rights to liberty and independence and the need to protect people when they lack the capacity to make decisions.

The report into how the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards have been applied during 2012/13, published today, cites concern that the MCA is still not understood and implemented consistently across health and social care services.

Findings include:

  • People in care homes and hospitals subject to restraint and possible deprivation of liberty without legal protection
  • A significant increase in the number of applications for the use of DoLS to protect the rights of people aged over 85
  • Regional variation in application rates
  • Around two thirds of care homes and hospitals are failing to notify CQC of the outcome of DoLS applications as required by law

The report also recommends that NHS England should include an expectation on the effective use of the DoLS into the standard contract for providers.

CQC chief executive David Behan said: “We expect more focus on reducing the restraint and restriction of vulnerable people lacking capacity.

“We want to ensure people who are unable to consent to treatment because they lack capacity receive high quality care as a fundamental part of health and care services. While there has been an increase in the use of DoLS there is still much more that needs to be done to ensure people are appropriately cared for.”

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