Regulators And Care Homes ‘Must Raise Game On Deprivation Of Liberty Issues’

Expert Comments On New CQC Report On Applications


Public law specialists at Irwin Mitchell who act for the families of vulnerable adults wrongfully deprived of their liberty while in care have called for both the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and homes to ensure standards are being met.

A new report from the CQC has revealed that there has been a rise in the number of approvals being sought by hospitals and care homes looking to deprive people of their liberty through the use of physical restraint, high-level supervision and other measures.

However, it also revealed that, despite such organisations being legally required to notify the CQC when making such applications, only one in three are actually doing so.

The study found that, overall, awareness of safeguards in the area grew across 2010/11, but the guidance was still not applied consistently.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Public Law team act for both individuals and the families or advocates of vulnerable adults who have seen their rights affected by care and supervision provided in care homes, acting in a number of cases in which it was successfully argued that patients were unfairly deprived of their liberty.

Yogi Amin, Partner at the national law firm, said: "It is concerning that only 1 in 3 hospitals and care homes are notifying the CQC about an application to authorise deprivation of a person's liberty, as it suggests that a high number of scenarios in which the safeguards have been used are simply not being examined.

“The families of many vulnerable adults will be rightly concerned by this and seeking reassurances that such restrictive care plans are only being employed when they are deemed absolutely necessary.

“We would urge regulators and care homes to report and monitor not only the applications made, but also the cases where the circumstances have had to be considered in court because an authorisation was not sought in the first place.

“In many cases these restrictive arrangements can be in the patient's best interests, but only if careful consideration and professional oversight has been employed in relation to the practice."