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Postponement of the implementation of Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) – Briefing note
At last we know ‘from the horse’s mouth’ that the LPS will not be implemented as planned this autumn. DHSC promises a Government statement at some time in the future, but in the meantime, has informed the LPS Implementation Steering Group that the DHSC is no longer prioritising this change to the law, and all work on the LPS has therefore stopped.
- The liberty protection safeguards (LPS) were brought into law for England and Wales last May, exactly a year ago, by the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019. The intention was to replace the deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) with the LPS, working towards an implementation date of this October
- Both DoLS and LPS are designed to protect the rights of people in health and social care settings who lack capacity to consent to a care plan, which is in their best interests and necessary to give them essential care or treatment, but which deprives them of their liberty. Both frameworks ensure that decisions are made in a person-centred way, and that the person has a right to challenge whether the care plan is lawful even when it has been authorised by DoLS or, in the future, LPS. The LPS are intended to be less bureaucratic and at the same time to widen the remit of these legal protections to people aged 16 and above in all health and care settings
- It has been clear for several months that LPS implementation would have to be delayed. No replacement timetable has yet been provided. A best guess is a delay until at least October 2021, but the email from DHSC to the LPS Implementation Steering Group gives no clue. The relevant passage reads:
“We are acutely aware of the pressures that COVID-19 is exerting on the health and social care sector and understand that you may also be facing pressures too. Supporting the wider sector to deliver is one of our key priorities and is reflected in the investments, guidance and legislative changes you may have seen.
At this time, we are considering the implementation timetable for LPS in light of the pandemic. In the meantime, we are not asking that LPS preparation be prioritised, which we will make clear in a national statement as soon as we can.”
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