Liberty Protection Safeguards – a new, simpler system

A new, simpler system planned to replace ‘overly complex’ DoLS assessments.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards assessments, commonly known as DoLS, are carried out on people who do not have the mental capacity to make their own decisions about their care, and have had their liberty deprived in some form.

Studies show that DoLS teams are getting through up to three times more assessments than they were in 2014/15, but the backlog of cases remaining incomplete or never started continues to grow. This is due to the number of new applications dramatically outstripping the number of completed or withdrawn assessments, putting a lot of pressure on the already over stretched teams.

In addition to this, DoLS have been critiqued in recent reviews as being overly complicated and bureaucratic. Therefore, a new system has been developed, known as Liberty Protection Safeguards, which will eventually become law through the Mental Capacity (Amendment Bill), replacing the DoLS.

The new system is designed to have a much simpler process, which will allow for quicker access to assessments. It will also give more decision making power to the NHS and families and will consider restrictions of liberties as part of overall care packages, making the assessment process much less burdensome on all involved.

During a debate on the bill, which took place in the House of Lords on 15th October, junior health minister Lord O’Shaughnessy confirmed that the Liberty Protection Safeguards will apply to 16 and 17 year-olds, rather than just those over 18.

It is expected that the new system will save Local Authorities around £200 million per year, making its introduction a positive change to many.

To read more about the Liberty Protection Safeguards, click here.