Alzheimer’s Society comments on the surge in Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard applications

There were 137,540 Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard (DoLS) applications received during 2014/15, the most since they were introduced in 2009.

This was found by a report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) applications have risen dramatically in England with a tenfold increase from 2013/14. As a result under half of applications were processed by councils for 2014/15 due to the volume creating a backlog.

George McNamara, Head of Policy at Alzheimer's Society said:  

'For too long this issue has been a minefield, over complicated and poorly understood by those working in the care sector to the detriment of thousands of vulnerable people. While the significant increase in applications might suggest this picture is improving, the backlog of unresolved requests is unacceptable, with a high number of outstanding applications. This raises serious questions about the current system and leaves the worrying potential of a person being unlawfully deprived of their liberty simply because the paperwork is yet to be completed.

'Depriving anyone of their liberty has to be a last resort, but when necessary it is essential it is closely monitored, legal and always with the best interests of the person in mind. The Law Commission is currently consulting on new legislation to replace the current over-complicated system and Alzheimer's Society is working with the Law Commission to ensure that any new law works for people with dementia.'

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