Everyone receiving care has a right to be treated fairly, with respect, as an equal and without discrimination, with dignity and with their views and wishes made central to any decisions that they must take. Otherwise their human rights will be at risk of being breached.

Care services should have clear policies that reflect how they are complying with the Human Rights Act 1998 when offering care and support. Such policies should cover all users, but specifically those who might lack the mental capacity to take their own decisions about their care needs and whose rights might need to be protected because of the possible loss of their liberty arising from the decisions that are taken on their behalf. Such decisions, including any that deprive a person of their liberty, are taken in line with the Mental Capacity Act 2005, which applies to England and Wales, with separate legislation for Scotland.

In April 2019 Parliament passed a Mental Capacity Amendment Act, which revises the system and procedures for authorising deprivation of liberty. How the new safeguards will apply is not — in October 2019 — known, but the plan is to implement new regulations from October 2020 operating alongside existing authorisation procedures for one year.

This topic should be used with reference to the Mental Capacity topic, which includes discussion of the handling of DoLS authorisations during the 2020 coronavirus outbreak, based on the Department of Health and Social Care guidance, The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.

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