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NHS Digital has published its findings from the Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) data collection from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016.
The report shows that, overall, 195,840 DoLS applications were received by councils during 2015-16. This is the most since DoLS were introduced in 2009 and represents 454 DoLS applications received per 100,000 adults in England.
Variation is apparent between regions, however, with the North East having almost three times as many applications (900 per 100,000) as London (319). The remaining regions received between 400 and 500 applications per 100,000 adults in 2015-16.
Following a period of relative stability during 2013-14 (prior to the 2014 Supreme Court judgment ('Cheshire West') and where the total number of applications received was 13,715), a period of month-on-month growth occurred during 2014-15. This peaked with 14,930 applications received in March 2015, before monthly figures appear to have restabilised at just above this level throughout 2015-16.
105,055 completed applications were reported in 2015-16, compared with 62,645 in 2014-15. This represents an increase of 68 per cent and follows a 380 per cent increase in completed applications between 2013-14 and 2014-15 (from 13,040 in 2013-14).
Of the 105,055 completed applications in 2015-16, 76,530 (73 per cent) were granted and 28,530 (27 per cent) were not granted. While the proportion of completed applications authorised has generally shown an upward trend since DoLS were introduced in 2009, the proportion of applications granted in 2015-16 (73 per cent) represents a reduction compared with 2014-15 (83 per cent; 52,125 of 62,645).
The North East has the highest rate of applications completed, with 665 applications per 100,000 residents. This is more than two and a half times the next highest region, the South West (258). The other eight regions display some variation, with the South East having the lowest rate of completed applications (179 per 100,000 residents).
Although the proportion of applications granted was relatively consistent across most regions, only 44 per cent were granted in the South West, whereas 86 per cent were granted in the North East and London.
A DoL refers to a restriction of an individual’s freedom such as physical restraint or constant supervision. The DoLS are a set of legal requirements that ensure that individuals are only deprived of their liberty in a necessary and proportionate way and provide protection for individuals once a DoL has been authorised.