Article 18 out of 320
The number of applications to detain people with mental health issues, dementia or learning difficulties for their own safety has reached the highest level on record.
The application process, known as Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), is used when patients who lack the mental capacity to consent need to be detained in a place like a care home or hospital.
New figures from NHS Digital indicated an 11 per cent rise in DoLS applications in England compared to last year.
Figures reached 217,235 during 2016/17, the highest since they were introduced in 2009. Meanwhile, thousands of applications have taken more than a year to be completed - despite the recommended time-frame of just three weeks.
DoLs are only used when it would be in the best interest of the person and a proper authorisation process must be in place to ensure it is done lawfully.
‘Left in limbo’ by over-stretched system
Gavin Terry, policy manager at dementia charity Alzheimer’s Society, said: “These figures prove once again an issue we have been highlighting for years – that an unacceptable number of people are being left in limbo by a system that is too complex, over-stretched and under-resourced.
“Depriving anyone of their liberty must only ever be a last resort, and in the person’s best interests but too often we hear cases where people with dementia and carers are left confused and distressed by a system that fails to meet their needs."
By 2021, one million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to two million by 2051.
Mr Terry added: “It is vital that the Government responds to the Law Commission’s proposals and takes forward a comprehensive plan of reform that ensures the rights of people with dementia not to be unlawfully deprived of their liberty are protected.”