The number of applications made by care homes and hospitals to local authorities under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) has increased by an average of 15.0% each year since 2014-15, official statistics from NHS Digital have revealed.
Its report, Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards England, 2018-19, said there were 240,455 applications received during 2018-19, relating to 200,225 people.
The data is collected from local authorities in England, who are the supervisory bodies for authorising deprivations of liberty of adults in care homes and hospitals.
Other findings from the report included:
- DoLS applications completed: The number of applications completed in 2018-19 was 216,005. The number of completed applications has also increased each year, by an average of 36.3% each year since 2014-15.
- DoLS applications not completed: The reported number of cases that were not completed as at year end was 131,350. This is higher than in previous years, however the gap between the volume of applications and those completed within each year has narrowed from 54.5% in 2014-15 to 10.2% in 2018-19.
- Reasons for DoLS applications not being granted: The proportion of completed applications in 2018-19 that were not granted was 45.9%. The main reason was given as change in circumstances, at 58.1% of all not granted cases.
- Time taken to process DoLS applications: The proportion of standard applications completed within the statutory timeframe of 21 days was 22.0% in 2018-19. The average length of time for all completed applications was 147 days.
A copy of the report can be viewed here.
In March 2014 the Supreme Court gave its landmark ruling on the ‘acid test’ for deprivations of liberty in P (by his litigation friend the Official Solicitor) v Cheshire West and Chester Council & Anor  UKSC 19, leading to many more people being assessed for DoLS.
The Liberty Protection Safeguards are due to replace the DoLS framework in October 2020.