The Health Select Committee of the House of Commons has been scrutinising the Mental Health Act 2007. On 26 February 2013, it posed a number of questions that perhaps are on many people‟s lips. First, should there be a standard definition of "deprivation of liberty"? Second, "Should hospitals and/or the GMC be interested when, for whatever reason, people not telling the whole truth indicate that a voluntary patient will be sectioned if they try to move?". Third, "Is there any reason why [DOLS] should not be applied in an independent living environment?" Little in the way of concrete answers was available. However, in relation to the second, on 12 March 2013 representatives of the Department of Health stated:
"There are circumstances where voluntary patients who are inpatients need to be detained, for whatever reason-their mental state has changed, the risks have changed or whatever circumstances have changed-and there are of course sections 5(2) and 5(4) in the Act in order to do that, but it is utterly unacceptable to threaten anyone with it. The code of practice makes very clear that it is unacceptable practice to threaten someone. If someone‟s circumstances have changed, they are thinking of leaving, they meet the criteria for detention and it is appropriate, then, yes, but what you don‟t do is threaten it and coerce people in that way. I am aware, as you obviously are, that it still happens."
The DOH also stated that, in legal terms, DOLS successfully addressed the issue it was trying to address by providing the legal framework; however its application remained patchy and "One of the things we need to do is to talk to the CQC about potentially doing more to look at the outliers there." In terms of the definition of "deprivation of liberty", after noting the Supreme Court case this October, it said: "Our sense is that the real experts on this are the people doing the assessment. There is less evidence of people feeling confident about identifying when to make applications to the assessors." A call was made for an easy read guide to help practitioners understand the case law.