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Deprivation of Liberty


Liberty means being free to do things you want and live the life you choose.

Some people who live in a hospital or care home are unable to make some decisions about their care and treatment. This is because they lack capacity and need extra care and protection to ensure they don't suffer harm. It may mean restricting their freedom. 

Sometimes restrictions have to be placed on people for their own safety. These could range from locking a door to physically restraining someone. At some point the restrictions become known as a deprivation of liberty.


Depriving someone of their liberty

Hospitals and care homes should avoid depriving someone of their liberty. However if it is considered to be in a person's best interests, authorisation must be obtained. A care home applies to the local authority. A hospital applies to the primary care trust.

The local authority or primary care trust must:

  • assess the person concerned to see if depriving them of their liberty is in their best interests
  • authorise a deprivation of liberty for a limited time up to a maximum of 12 months
  • put conditions in place to ensure a person's welfare
  • ensure the person has a relative, friend or advocate to keep in touch, support them and ask for a review of the authorisation when necessary.

There is an appeals process through the Court of Protection|


If You Are Concerned About a Person Deprived of Their Liberty

Discuss this with the hospital or care home. They may explain the issue. If you are still concerned, contact the local authority or primary care trust to ask for a review of the situation.

Bournemouth and Poole Primary Care Trust works with Bournemouth Borough Council. We have a joint Deprivation of Liberty office.


Contacts for Deprivation of Liberty

Esther Donald DoLs Manager:

01202 458823


Mike Lynton DoLs Administrator:

01202 451657 / 451874


Or by email:| 


Find Out More

Related Information


Postal Address Bournemouth Care Direct,
Customer Services Centre,
St Stephens Road, Bournemouth, Dorset
Telephone Number 01202 454979
Fax Number 01202 454975
Email address Care Direct
Out of Hours Telephone Number

Out of Hours:
01202 657279