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Criticism over DoLS charge

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A care home has courted controversy over its decision to charge £250 to those residents who need a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) authorisation.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) was asked to investigate the policy implemented at Southfield House, a residential care home in Stockport.

Its arrangements had come under scrutiny over the DoLS charge, which it introduced to cover the cost of assessments carried out by the local authority.

Steven Richards, who has written several books on subjects such as mental capacity, had contacted the regulator to raise concerns about the policy.

“I’m shocked by the whole idea that you could be a vulnerable adult who lacks capacity and be charged for being deprived of your liberty,” he said.

“The figure they’ve come up with would appear to have no correlation to the burden on a care home when an authorisation is requested.”

Commenting on the Community Care website, which broke the news about the controversy, one reader wrote: “I accept that providing high quality care is expensive and that there is widespread under funding, which makes things extremely challenging for care providers.

“That is a different matter however, the answer cannot be additional charges of this nature.”

The CQC concluded that the charge was in line with the rules, but Mr Richards has also taken up the matter with the Law Commission – which is currently reviewing this area of legislation and is due to report back to the Government later this year.

Responding to criticism, a spokesman for Southfield House said: “All our charges are transparent and advertised. All items of expense with regard to care and accommodation are taken into account when setting our fees.”