Department of Health response to the Law Commission’s consultation on mental capacity and deprivation of liberty

Department of Health, December 2015

The Department of Health has published its response to the Law Commission’s consultation on how the law should regulate deprivations of liberty (DoLS) for people who lack capacity to consent to their care and treatment arrangements. The consultation proposes that DoLS should be replaced by a new system called ‘protective care’. It also proposes that there should be a new code of practice. The Law Commission will publish its final recommendations by the end of 2016.

Click here to view the response.

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Accessing and sharing health records and patient confidentiality

House of Commons, September 2015

This briefing describes how patients may request access to their records, and the circumstances in which access to the records of others may be allowed.  The briefing also describes statutory and public interest disclosures of patient information; information sharing rules for people who lack mental capacity; and access to information on hereditary conditions for relatives.

Click here for further information and to access the briefing.

‘Indirect payments’ for people who lack capacity: How are they working in practice?

Mental Health Foundation, March 2015

This report summarizes the findings from a study investigating ‘indirect payments’ for people who lack capacity, exploring how these payments are working in practice.

Click here to download the report.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards 2013/14

Care Quality Commission, 2 February 2015

The CQC have published the findings from their fifth annual report on the use of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, which looks at the period 2013/14. 

The findings of the report show:

The number of applications to use the safeguards rose over the year 2013/14, but dramatic rises followed in Q1 and Q2 of 2014/15, following the Supreme Court’s clarification that that a person lacking mental capacity to consent is deprived of their liberty if they are both not free to leave and under continuous supervision and control. Since this clarification, there has been an eight-fold increase in the number of applications.

Regional variation still exists
We continue to see regional variations in application rates.

  • The safeguards are most often used to protect the rights of older people, who may be living with dementia so we expect to see more Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards applications in parts of the country with a relatively older population. However, even adjusting the figures to take account of demographic factors (for example, the relatively young population of London), variations have persisted.
  • The rapid and unprecedented rise in applications since March 2014 is putting extra pressure on local authorities and creating backlogs.
  • At the end of September 2014, there were still 19,429 applications where a decision was still to be made, while at the end of 2013/14 there were just 356 where a decision was still to be made.

Click here for further information and to download the report.

Mental Capacity Act: government response to the House of Lords Select Committee report

Department of Health/Ministry of Justice, October 2014

The government, together with our partners, has closely considered the 39 recommendations of the House of Lords. It has also reviewed inputs and insights received from our discussions with a wide range of stakeholders. This response sets out a system-wide programme of work over 2014 to 2015 and beyond that we believe will make a real improvement to the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act.

Click here for further information.

Doctors told to seek court orders in good time for expectant mothers who lack capacity

British Medical Journal, 3 September 2014

UK doctors caring for expectant mothers who are thought to lack the capacity to make their own decisions on childbirth have been told that they must seek court authorisation in good time if there is…

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