Use of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards continues to rise

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Use of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards continues to rise

The number of safeguard applications to deprive people of their liberty has risen for the third year running new figures show.

Nearly 12,000 Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) applications were made in 2012/13 (11,890). This is a four per cent increase on 2011/12 (11,380) – a slower rate of increase than in previous years.

The 2012/13 figure represents a 66 per cent increase on 2009/10 (7,160), the first year of DoLS.

DoLS give a legal framework for depriving someone of their liberty when there is no other way to care for them or safely provide treatment and where they are unable to give informed consent regarding their care.

Applications are generally made by a care home or hospital to the responsible local authority or primary care trust (which were still operating during the most recent year of data).

Today’s report shows that in 2012/13:

  • Just over half of applications (55 per cent, or 6,550) were granted – a similar figure to the previous two years (56 per cent in 2011/12 and 55 per cent in 2010/11) but higher than in 2009/10 (46 per cent).
  • Dementia was recorded as the primary disability of the person in just over half (54 per cent) of all applications.
  • Of the applications refused by responsible bodies, over four in five (80 per cent) were because a “best interests” assessment had not been met.
  • 28.3 applications were made per 100,000 people aged 18 and over with application rates rising with age – from 9.6 per 100,000 people aged 18 to 64, to 265.3 per 100,000 people aged 85 and over.2

The report can be accessed at:

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