The CQC has published its annual state of care report. For present purposes, we focus on the section dedicated to DOLS. The chapter picks up examples of improvement in practice, especially in the adult social care sector, but (in a continuing theme) noted variations in practice, especially in acute hospital anf mental health trusts. The following aspects of practice in particular were singled out:
- Variation in levels of staff training and understanding;
- Variable practice in how capacity assessments and best interests in making are carried out and documented; and
- Variable practice in the management of applications for authorisation to deprive a person of their liberty.
In respect of the latter, CQC noted in particular:
- instances where individuals appear to potentially have been deprived of their liberty unlawfully – such as without the provider seeking authorisation to do so or where authorisations had expired;
- providers taking a 'blaket approach' to authorisation applications, including submitting applications for individuals with capacity;
- decisions about DoLS (including conditions of authorisations) not communicated appropriately (such as recording them in an individual's care plan) and/or complied with;
- concerns about the use of urgent deprivation of liberty authorisations, including lack of understanding and continued use beyond their expiration dates;
- authorisations not being kept under review.