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Understanding mental capacity
Understanding mental capacity

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2.4 Deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS)

The aim of DoLS is:

to ensure that adults who lack capacity to consent to being accommodated in a hospital or care home for the purpose of being given care and treatment are only deprived of liberty if it is considered to be in their best interests ... by establishing an administrative process for authorising a deprivation of liberty and a means to challenge any such deprivation.’

(Law Commission, 2017, p. 41)

However, in 2017, the Law Commission published a report highlighting the over-complicated and highly bureaucratic real-world application of the DoLS, especially in the light of the Cheshire West ruling. At the time of writing (July 2017), recommendations are in place for reviewing the DoLS to make them more workable in practice. Suffice it to say here that whatever the outcome of these developments, regulatory supervision of this contentious area is still needed to ensure that the most vulnerable people are protected and only deprived of their liberty by fully regulated, transparent and accountable individuals and systems.

Next, you will look at some areas where issues of decision making and capacity for people with learning disabilities may be said to be somewhat exceptional.