Liberty safeguards for dementia patients coming in April 2022
Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) are due to come into force in April 2022. The scheme was due to be introduced in October but was put on hold in July after representations from social care and health bodies about the difficulties they would face in implementing LPS in the light of the impact of Covid-19.
LPS were introduced in the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019 and will replace the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) system. They will provide protection for people aged 16 and above who are, or who need to be, deprived of their liberty in order to enable their care or treatment, and who lack the mental capacity to consent to the arrangements.
People who might have an LPS authorisation include those with dementia, autism and learning disabilities who lack the relevant capacity.
Three assessments will form the basis of the authorisation of LPS:
- A capacity assessment
- A ‘medical assessment’ to determine whether the person has a mental disorder
- A ‘necessary and proportionate’ assessment to determine if the arrangements are necessary to prevent harm to the person.
The assessment process will be embedded into existing care planning (for example, under the Care Act 2014). Local authorities and NHS bodies will be ‘Responsible Bodies’ under the LPS (CCGs and NHS trusts, and the local health board in Wales).
Responsible Bodies will organise the assessments needed under the scheme and ensure that there is sufficient evidence to justify deprivation of liberty. There is an explicit duty to consult those caring for the person, and with those interested in the person’s welfare.
LPS will be extended to apply to people living domestic settings, such as their own home and supported living, and to 16 and 17-year-olds. These changes means that all individuals who need to be deprived of their liberty will be protected under the LPS without the need to go to court.
Viatris has created this short video based on a publication reviewing global research into the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health. It identifies six areas where psychiatrists can play a role in supporting people's mental health through these difficult times.