The care minister Caroline Dinenage has confirmed in a letter to MPs that Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) will replace the current Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs) from 1 October 2020.
The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019 received Royal Assent on 16 May.
The Act introduces LPS which will replace the current DoLs system. A deprivation of liberty for people in care homes can, for example, involve someone with dementia who is restricted from going outdoors because they are considered to have a lack of mental capacity and could harm themselves.
DoLS were brought in to create a procedure for such circumstances to make sure people are not unnecessarily ‘locked up’.
Unlike DoLS (which requires a fresh authorisation each time an existing one expires) the LPS system makes subsequent deprivation of liberty authorisations automatically renewable if certain criteria are in place.
As many people will have an authorisation in place under the current DoLs system in October 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said ‘the expectation is that such people will remain under their existing authorisation until it expires’ with the LPS temporarily operating alongside the Dols system.
This is intended to avoid extra work to re-authorise deprivations of liberty under LPS.
The government is currently working on developing draft chapters for the Code of Practice, which will offer guidance for care professionals, those reliant on these protections and their families.
A final draft of the code is expected to be laid before Parliament in Spring 2020.
The care minister has promised engagement with the sector on the development of the regulations.
The DHSC will develop training and will work with Skills for Care, Health Education England and others to support care staff in the sector with the change to the new system, and to approve people to become Approved Mental Capacity Professionals.