With effect from 10 August 2021, the DHSC’s emergency guidance on the MCA and DOLS has been withdrawn. Whilst it still appears on the website, the message on the page now reads:
This emergency guidance will no longer be updated.
The care and treatment of people who may lack the relevant mental capacity must always be guided by important principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) and may in some cases include the safeguards provided by the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS). This was and is the case, before, during and after the pandemic.
Some emergency coronavirus public health powers, including the Coronavirus Act 2020 and the Health Protection Regulations 2020 covering restrictions and self-isolation, are still in force and in certain circumstances these may be relevant to decision making in respect of those lacking the relevant capacity. Where decisions may need to be made in relation to COVID-19 care or treatment, for someone who may lack the relevant mental capacity, practitioners should follow their usual processes, including the best interest decision making process.
The withdrawal of the guidance means that the urgent authorisation form (form 1B) in Annex B to it should now no longer be used and instead form 1 should be used for all requests. All the relevant forms can be found here.
I have also updated the COVID-19/MCA resources page on my website to take account of other recent updates to guidance. It is slimmed down from the form it took previously, but rest assured it can be bulked up again if and when (hopefully only if) it is required.