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Government to consider care reforms for people who lack mental capacity

Date:1 NOV 2017
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A written statement from Jackie Doyle-Price, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, has set out the Government’s interim response to the Law Commission’s recent report on mental capacity and deprivation of liberty. Doyle-Price says the Government will engage with a range of stakeholders to understand how the changes recommended by the Law Commission can be implemented, and consider action to support greater empowerment and care centred around people, their wishes and aspirations.
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Around two million people in England with conditions such as dementia, a learning disability, autism or an acquired brain injury may be unable to make decisions about their care or treatment because they lack mental capacity.

Background to the Law Commission report

In 2007, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 was amended to introduce the deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS), which provide a legal framework for DoLS decisions. However, the framework has been criticised by Parliament, charities, local authorities and families – the current regime is inflexible and complex, and the system is bureaucratic and does not always empower people or place them at the heart of decision-making about their care.

The Law Commission was asked to conduct a fundamental review of the DoLS provisions which are integrated into healthcare practices. The expressed priority was that any new scheme should improve the quality of care, improve access to safeguards and be cost-effective.

Next steps

Doyle-Price says the Government welcomes and is carefully considering the Law Commission’s report. The Government will provide its final response on the report in spring 2018.