A simpler set of safeguards is needed to protect the growing number of vulnerable people unable to give informed consent when they are confined to hospital or a care home to receive the care they need, the Law Society said today.
Commenting on the need to overhaul the current Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), Law Society president Robert Bourns said: ‘As our population ages and the number of people who need long-term care grows, we think the existing measures to protect people who lack mental capacity are not fit for purpose.
‘We would welcome streamlined DoLS to provide vigorous protection to those who are after all some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Any new scheme should strengthen vulnerable individuals’ ability to challenge measures that are overly restrictive or abusive.
‘It should also be straightforward for those responsible for the care of people who lack mental capacity - care homes, hospitals and local authorities - to comply with safeguards. At the same time, penalties for non-compliance must be enforced more consistently than they currently are. This is in the best interests of those the measures seek to protect, as well as their families and any institutions with responsibility for people who lack mental capacity.’
The Law Society was responding to the Law Commission’s report and Draft Bill on mental capacity and deprivation of liberty.