DEMENTIA RED TAPE MUST BE EASED NOW – MP
Ann Coffey MP has put forward proposals to ease the financial burden on councils who are engulfed by red tape involving dementia sufferers.
Ms Coffey said that Deprivation of Liberty safeguard assessments have turned into an ‘expensive bureaucratic nightmare’ for councils.
Stockport Council alone will spend £1.2 million this year on assessments to ensure dementia sufferers who live in care homes are not being inappropriately restrained.
Ms Coffey suggested in the Commons today that it would help councils save some money immediately if the government scrapped the need to reassess DoLS on every person every single year and to make a reassessment every time an elderly person leaves a care home to go into hospital.
Her suggestions were received positively by Alistair Burt, the Health Minister, who said he was prepared to “look at any suggestions she has to ease the situation practically.”
Nationally local authorities have seen DoLS caseloads rise more than tenfold in the year after a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2014 triggered a surge in referrals.
The Supreme Court judgement effectively lowered the threshold for what constitutes deprivation of liberty in care and significantly increased the number of people requiring assessment for protection under the DoLs scheme.
Ms Coffey has been leading a campaign to scrap the costly DoLS system and the Law Commission is currently reviewing how to tackle the problem.
But Ms Coffey said that any proposals from the Law Commission would take two years to implement and urged the minister to do something now to ease the situation in the meantime.
She said at Commons Health question time:
“It is costing Stockport Council £1.2 million this year for Deprivation of Liberty assessments as a result of the Cheshire West judgement.
Not one single penny of that is providing social care.
“This is unsustainable at a time when social care budgets are under intense pressure. Something needs to be done now. We cannot wait for the Law Commission.
“As a small step forward – would the minster consider scrapping costly automatic annual reassessments and the necessity to reassess every time an elderly person leaves a care home to go into hospital?”
Mr Burt said: “I will happily look at anything that might assist us. I will look at any suggestions she has to ease the situation practically”.