What are DoLS mental health assessors?
DoLS mental health assessors are medical doctors, typically working as psychiatrists and often who are members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists who have received special training in assessing whether a patient liable to be deprived of their liberty has a mental disorder or not. The mental health assessment is a key part of the DoLS assessment and must be carried out by this role.
What skills do DoLS mental health assessors have?
DoLS mental health assessors should have extensive psychiatric experience and may have worked in old age psychiatry, care homes settings and should be familiar with the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorder and how this may impair mental capacity.
What qualifications do DoLS mental health assessors have?
They need to be s12 (2) MHA approved by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. Not all s12 doctors are members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
How can mental health assessors assist with the DoLS assessment?
Mental health assessors are able to perform the mental health assessment for current DoLS applications. In many cases these can be conducted remotely by video call as per recent case law guidance and following Court of Protection guidelines in response to Covid-19.
What role will DoLS mental health assessors have after the introduction of Liberty Protection Safeguards?
The role of the mental health assessor is to be discontinued in LPS and the current recommendations are that GPs will provide evidence and assessments of mental disorder. This has proved controversial as GPs report they have little time to conduct these assessments and are not properly trained. It remains likely that s12 doctors acting in some forms as specialist mental health assessors will be required for many cases.
If you are from a DoLS Local authority team, please get in touch if you require mental health assessors to assist with assessments.