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By Debbie le Quesne

Figures show massive backlog in DoLs

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The Alzheimer’s Society is expressing fears over the “massive backlog” of DoLs applications.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre on Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) has released quarterly figures for January – March 2015 and they’re shocking.

The data shows 119 out of 152 councils (78 per cent of all councils) submitted data and the total number of DoLS applications for that period was 36,000.

Of these 8,500 (24 per cent) were granted, 2,900 (8 per cent) not granted and 24,600 (68 per cent) not yet signed off by the Supervisory Body or were withdrawn.

Local authorities are simply being swamped with applications to restrict the liberty of people with dementia in homes and hospitals.

George McNamara, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Society is quoted on the Alzheimer’s Society website: “We are deeply concerned that a massive backlog of cases may lead to people being unlawfully deprived of their liberty because the paperwork is yet to be completed.

“Taking away someone’s liberty must always be a last resort. It must be closely monitored, legal and only happen in that person’s best interests.”

He has good reason to worry.

Recently I blogged that DoLs were rocketing to new heights, with many still breaching legal timescales for completion.

A landmark Supreme Court ruling in March last year triggered a nine-fold rise in monthly referrals to councils, a Community Care online magazine investigation found.

The legal landmark was set with cases involving Chester West and Chester Council and Surrey County Council and the outcome was a revised test that has lowered the threshold for deprivation of liberty in care.

Back then, the Government gave local authorities £35 million to process the expected increase in applications.

That figure doesn’t even scratch the surface as the new figures prove.

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