Further to our report in our April edition of the Health Legal Update, a recent report by the NHS Information Centre in relation to the use of DOLS in 2010-11, Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards assessments (England) second report on annual data, 2010/11, has revealed that the legislation is being applied inconsistently across England. This report presents the first two full years of comparable data about the use of DOLS.

The report found that people in some parts of the country were three times more likely to be subject to a DOLS application than others. In the East Midlands there were 46 DOLS orders per 100,000 people, compared to only 13 per 100,000 in the East of England.

In total 8,982 applications were made (compared to 7,157 in 2009/10). Of these, 4,951 applications were approved (compared to 3,297 in 2009/10), which is a 46 per cent approval rate.

More detailed analysis of this year's report shows that of those applications that were granted, more than half (55 per cent) concerned a person who lacked mental capacity due to dementia.

A spokesperson for the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has commented that “training is quite sporadic in some places.” He emphasised that commissioners have a responsibility to make sure that DOLS is properly understood by staff at all levels.