Councils will receive £11.6m to safeguard adults in hospitals
The Government has increased funding for councils to safeguard adults detained in hospitals from the proposed £1.4m, to £5.4m in 2013-14 and £6.2m in 2014-15.
The resources, announced yesterday by the Department of Health, are designed to fund councils to assess whether people should be detained for treatment in hospital where they lack the capacity to refuse, under the deprivation of liberty safeguards (Dols). Councils assume responsibility for this role from primary care trusts on PCTs' abolition in April 2013.
Where hospitals suspect they are depriving a patient of their liberty for treatment, where the person lacks the capacity to refuse, they will need to apply for authorisation from their local authority, not the primary care trust, as at present. The council will then need to ensure that the six assessments required under the Dols are carried out, within 21 days, most significantly the best interests assessment.
Hospitals will remain responsible for compliance with Dols legislation, for knowing when to make referrals and ensuring treatment is compliant with the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005.
The DH originally proposed giving councils £1.4m to cover the first year of their new responsibilities, based on estimates of existing PCT funding.
However, today it said £5.4m would transfer in 2013-14 followed by £6.2m in 2014-15. The DH said its latest estimate was based on “current data on Dols assessments in hospitals, our best estimate of future trends and a Dols unit cost of £1200”.
In 2013-14 the money will be allocated as £1.35m as part of councils' general grant for services, and £4.05m as part of a new grant from the Department of Health.
Councils are currently responsible for assessing Dols cases in care homes; but in many areas, local authorities and PCTs have set up joint arrangements, with pooled budgets, to assess and authorise Dols cases across hospitals and care homes.
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