CQC Announces Plans For More Checks On DoLS

Restraint Techniques Used In Health And Social Care To Receive Greater Scrutiny

16.01.2014

More checks are to be undertaken in relation to the use of a procedure known as the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) by care homes and hospitals, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has announced.

In its fourth annual report on the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act, the watchdog has reviewed the use of the procedure across the NHS and warned that legislation in this area is applied inconsistently by health and social care services.

Specific findings included that people in care homes may be subject to DoLS without legal protection, mixed experiences in relation to their use and an increase in the number of applications to protect the rights of people over 85.

Around two-thirds of care homes and hospitals were also found to be failing to notify the CQC of the outcome of DoLS applications, as required by law.

David Behan, chief executive of the CQC, said: “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.”

Expert Opinion
This increased level of scrutiny of the DoLS regime must be welcomed, particularly considering the seriousness of the issue.

"In our experience of representing vulnerable adults and their families affected by decisions related to the DoLS regime, we have long been concerned about the uneven application of regulations which are ultimately there to provide protection for people who are unable to speak up for themselves.

"Whilst it is true to say that practice has improved over recent years within local authority social services, there is still much work to be done to raise awareness of these issues, particularly among healthcare professionals.

"The ultimate priority must be to ensure that the welfare and best interests of hospital patients and care home residents always comes first."
Mathieu Culverhouse, Associate