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Alzheimer's Society comments on the surge in Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard applications

Published 29 September 2015

There were 137,540 Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard (DoLS) applications received during 2014/15, the most since they were introduced in 2009.

This was found by a report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) applications have risen dramatically in England with a tenfold increase from 2013/14. As a result under half of applications were processed by councils for 2014/15 due to the volume creating a backlog.

George McNamara, Head of Policy at Alzheimer's Society said: 

'For too long this issue has been a minefield, over complicated and poorly understood by those working in the care sector to the detriment of thousands of vulnerable people. While the significant increase in applications might suggest this picture is improving, the backlog of unresolved requests is unacceptable, with a high number of outstanding applications. This raises serious questions about the current system and leaves the worrying potential of a person being unlawfully deprived of their liberty simply because the paperwork is yet to be completed.

'Depriving anyone of their liberty has to be a last resort, but when necessary it is essential it is closely monitored, legal and always with the best interests of the person in mind. The Law Commission is currently consulting on new legislation to replace the current over-complicated system and Alzheimer's Society is working with the Law Commission to ensure that any new law works for people with dementia.'

- Ends -

Notes to editors:

  • 225,000 will develop dementia this year, that's one every three minutes
  • Alzheimer's Society research shows that 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia. In less than ten years a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to two million people by 2051
  • Dementia costs the UK economy over £26 Billion per year. This is the equivalent of more than £30,000 per person with dementia. 
  • Alzheimer's Society champions the rights of people living with dementia and the millions of people who care for them 
  • Alzheimer's Society works in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Alzheimer's Society supports people to live well with dementia today and funds research to find a cure for tomorrow. We rely on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0845 306 0898 or visiting alzheimers.org.uk
  • Alzheimer's Society provides a National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0300 222 11 22 or visit alzheimers.org.uk