CQC report raises concerns about awareness of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards in NHS

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We have posted before about concerns about the lack of understanding of the operation of the Mental Capacity Act in learning disability services . This report from the Care Quality Commission suggests that those working in the NHS may have similar issues.

The report’s authors recommend that the NHS needs better training and more awareness of when and how to apply the Mental Capacity Act – Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (MCA-DOLS) for patients. As ‘managing authorities’ under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, hospitals must apply to their PCT, and notify the CQC if they think that a patient needs to be deprived of their liberty for treatment or care which they can establish is in their best interests. CQC point out in the report however that there is a significant under-reporting by hospitals of notifications that they are required to make

The CQC report highlights:

  • The value of the a system of Safeguards
  • A large variation in practice across the country
  • Low levels of training of staff
  • Lack of clarity about when the Safeguards might be needed.

CQC plan to improve their approach to monitoring the safeguards by:

  • embedding the safeguards as a routine and major part of inspectors’ practice
  • improving information on managing authorities’ applications and authorisations for the safeguards
  • developing the ability to monitor the overall safeguards system and managing authorities.

You can read the full report here Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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