Last updated:
9 February 2017

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

Information on DoLS and how to apply for authorisation.

1 Overview

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) protect the rights of adults with a mental health condition who:

  • lack the capacity to give consent to their care and/or treatment
  • live in care homes or hospitals
  • are kept under continuous control and supervision, and are not free to leave the home or hospital.

The safeguards apply irrespective of whether:

  • the care or treatment is being privately or publicly funded
  • the person objects to the restrictions, or is very happy in the care home or hospital.

The authorisation of a deprivation of liberty will only be made if it can be shown that it is necessary and in the person's best interests. This will be decided following an assessment by specially trained staff.

2 How to apply

It is the responsibility of hospitals and care homes to contact us if they have concerns and need an authorised deprivation of liberty.

You need to download and complete Form 1 (Urgent Authorisation) and Form 4 (Request for Standard Authorisation) from the Department of Health. Form 1 will authorise the hospital or care home to hold the person for up to seven days from the moment they sign it.

Please complete and sign both forms and send them immediately to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Team. Please don't post the forms but email (use the Department of Health's editable .RTF documents) or fax us. 

We will confirm once the forms have arrived safely and securely. A Best Interests assessor from the team will then come and assess the application and decide whether to recommend a DoLS authorisation.

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