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Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [HL] - Committee (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 22nd October 2018.

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Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Labour 7:15 pm, 22nd October 2018

My Lords, I want to follow up the remarks of the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, by referring to the recent CQC annual report, which had a section on the implementation and practice in relation to DoLS. The report laid out a number of key concerns about care home and hospital providers that are actually using DoLS at the moment in relation to the Act itself. There is a huge variation in practice and this variation is commonly linked with a basic lack of understanding of the law, which is complex and difficult to understand. The report says that the result is that there are unnecessarily restrictive practices that can result in the loss of freedom and, in some cases, the loss of people’s human rights. The problems are reinforced by limited staffing levels, a lack of time to complete applications and inadequate staff training.

I am aware, of course, that the intention of this Bill is to streamline some of those procedures, although I think that, because the safeguards have been drastically reduced, we might be landing ourselves in future problems once the courts begin to hear some of the cases that will arise. The point is that it is quite clear that, at the moment, effective training is not taking place among many of the organisations involved in the operation of DoLS. The risk is that the same will happen in relation to the new legislation. We need some guarantees that there are going to be resources and a concerted training programme to ensure that we mitigate that impact.