New law passed to protect vulnerable people in care

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill was introduced to the House of Lords on 3 July seeking to protect the rights of people who do not have the mental capacity to make decisions about their care.

Replacing the current system known as ‘Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards’ (DoLs), often criticised for being too complex and bureaucratic, the ‘Liberty Protection Safeguards’ will now become law through the bill.

Saving local authorities an estimated £200 million a year, the reforms aim to introduce a simpler process that involves families more and gives swifter access to assessments, becoming less burdensome on people, carers, families and local authorities.

This will then allow the NHS, rather than local authorities, to make decisions about their patients, allowing a more efficient and clearly accountable process, as well as preventing repeat assessments and authorisations when someone moves between a care home, hospital and ambulance as part of their treatment.

Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage said: “Treating people with respect and dignity, no matter their disability or condition, is the touchstone of a civilised society. I want to ensure that the system works for everyone and ensures that individuals’ fundamental rights are protected while reassuring families their loved ones are getting good care.

“We know local authorities are under pressure which is why these reforms are so important: to reduce the burden on councils so they can focus their resources where they are needed on the frontline.”

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