The DH has now published the DOLS funding factsheet 2013/14 which announces the funding for new local authority responsibilities for assessing and authorising a deprivation of liberty in a hospital setting.
From 1 April 2013, local authorities will become the supervisory body where a person is deprived of their liberty in hospital, a role currently undertaken by primary care trusts. This means that local authorities will be the only organisation authorising and assessing deprivations of liberty outside of the Court of Protection.
Hospitals will, of course, remain responsible for Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and DOLS compliance and knowing when to make DOLS referrals. They must apply to the new supervisory bodies where they think they may need to deprive a patient of their liberty in order to treat them.
Additional funding of £5.4 million is being made available to local authorities to fulfil this new role. The document explains that this figure is based on current data in relation to DOLS assessments in hospitals, the best estimate of future trends and a DOLS unit cost of £1200.
The unit cost is not the cost of each assessment; it is the total estimated cost of providing the DOLS service. This includes wider costs such as training best interests assessors (BIAs) and authorisers, awareness raising, mediation, DOLS audits of managing authorities, reviews of the DOLS supervisory body service and Court of Protection costs where necessary.
The factsheet provides an indicative allocation by local authorities and an explanation of how local authorities will receive the funding.
The allocation to the NHS for assessing and authorising patients for DOLS will cease, however, the NHS allocation for the MCA (which is the larger component of the MCA/DOLS resources) will continue.
Hospitals remain responsible for being compliant with and having a good understanding of their statutory responsibilities in the MCA and DOLS, including making relevant and timely referrals to supervisory bodies for the deprivation of liberty and adhering to any DOLS conditions set.