Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) during COVID-19

An update on how Care Quality Commission is monitoring the Mental Capacity Act and people who are subject to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) monitors the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and people who are subject to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS). This is an important part of CQC’s approach to human rights in our regulation. The DoLS are used when a person cannot consent to arrangements for care and treatment that significantly limit their freedom. This is mainly in care homes but is also used in hospitals.

As previously outlined, part of our regulatory approach during the coronavirus pandemic will involve our Emergency Support Framework (ESF) which will enable us to identify and respond to risks.

Within the ESF for adult social care, we are including clear prompts relating to how people’s human rights are respected. Where there are serious concerns which cannot be addressed through monitoring and discussion, we will continue to inspect, provided these visits can be undertaken without placing people, residents or others at risk given the current circumstances. We continue to work with partner agencies to ensure people’s human rights are protected. This also applies to those deprived of liberty through means other than the DoLS legislation.

We have also been working with other members of the UK National Preventive Mechanism to ensure we are coordinated with other devolved nations.

As part of our approach during COVID-19, we will continue to consider whether there are risks related to deprivation of liberty when deciding whether to inspect and visit a service. We will make decisions on a case-by-case basis. We have published guidance on working within the MCA during the coronavirus pandemic on our website.

Our primary purpose remains keeping people safe during this time, and we will use feedback we gather to continue to improve our approach to monitoring the quality and safety of care in all settings.



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Care Quality Commission

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.