CQC’s annual report on deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) indicates that there has been a sharp increase in the number of applications to use DoLS in relation to people over the age of 75.
CQC report that the total number of applications, along with the number of authorisations, have increased every year since the introduction of DoLS in 2009. However, the rate of increase in 2012/13 was smaller than in previous years. Figures reveal that of the 11,887 applications made in 2012/13, over 55% of those were authorised.
The reason for the increase in the over 75’s category may be attributable to the ageing population alongside the high number of people living with dementia. However other reasons for the increase could be attributed to the increased awareness of practices under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 which has led to providers being more responsive.
The rate of applications has also been shown to vary across different regions with the East Midlands demonstrating the highest rate of applications and London the lowest. The difference in regional application rates remains unexplained, but one explanation could be that awareness and understanding of DoLS is still very variable across the country. Paul Farmer, the chief executive of Mind, commented that the variation in DoLS use was “of great concern.”