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Number of DoLS applications rising year on year

More than 11,000 Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard (DoLS) orders were made in England last year, a 27 per cent increase on the number made in the previous 12 months.

19 July 2012

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Figures released this week (17 July 2012) by the Department of Health show there has been an increase year on year in the number of DoLS orders made since they came into force in April 2009.

11,393 applications were made in 2011/12, which represents a 27 per cent rise on the 8,982 in 2010/11, and a 59 per cent increase on the 7,157 applications in 2009/10.

This pattern of rising applications is contrary to predictions that applications would fall at a constant rate between 2009/10 and 2015/16, says the report.

There is also considerable disparity across the country in terms of the number of applications made by each local authority. For example, Leicester made more than 400 DoLS applications last year, while Reading made just one and Hull made three.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • The number of people subject to a standard authorisation at the end of the quarter had increased each quarter since the safeguards were introduced, from 536 at the end of June 2009 to 1,976 at the end of December 2011. However, between the end of December 2011 and March 2012 the numbers decreased by 16 per cent, the first fall in numbers seen.

  • Over half (56 per cent or 6,343) of the DoLS authorisations completed in 2011/12 were granted. This is a similar proportion to the 55 per cent (4,951) granted in 2010/11, but higher than the 46 per cent (3,297) authorised 2009/10.

  • Dementia accounted for 53 per cent of all applications and this is reflected in the age profile of people who are the subject of DoLS applications.

  • 58 per cent of applications relate to people over 74 and the population based rate of applications is much higher for over 74s and over 84s. For the over 84s the application rate is 25 in 10,000, This compares to 12 in 10,000 for 75-84 year olds, three in 10,000 for 65-74 year olds and just one in 10,000 for 18-64 year olds (working-age adults).

  • The East Midlands has the highest rate of applications, at 51 per 100,000 while London had the lowest rate at just 17 per 100,000. These compare to a rate for England as a whole of 28 per 100,000.

This third annual report provides information on uses of the legislation across the whole year from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012 in England. These data were collected on a quarterly basis and have previously been published in two earlier biannual publications released in December 2011 and June 2012.

Data is collected from primary care trusts (PCTs) and local authorities (LAs), the organisations responsible for managing the process for authorising requests to deprive someone of their liberty in 2011/12. Requests from care homes are handled by LAs and requests from hospitals are handled by PCTs.

For the full report see

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