The role of the mental health assessor is an important statutory role. Once doctors have successfully completed and passed the training, they are eligible to play an essential part in a process designed to protect the rights of vulnerable people who lack capacity to make their own decisions about their accommodation for care or treatment. Depending on the outcome of assessments carried out by the mental health assessor, and also by the best interests assessor, a person’s deprivation of liberty may be authorised as being lawful and in their best interests.
The DoLS training programme is made up of a pre-test on the MCA followed by five DoLS knowledge sessions and finally a post-test on DoLS. The test and sessions should be completed in the following order:
1. MCA Test of Understanding (753-017) a user must pass with a satisfactory score of 85% or more, before moving on to:
2. DoLS: Legal and Process Overview (753-012), which must be completed before moving on to:
The Best Interests, Age and No Refusal Assessments (753-013)
The Mental Capacity Assessment (753-014)
The Mental Health Assessment (753-015)
The Eligibility Assessment (753-016)
3. DoLS: Test of Understanding (753-018) which again a user must pass with a satisfactory score of 85% or more in order to attain the DoLS certificate. This can then be presented to a DoLS supervisory body as evidence of successful completion of the e-learning course.
The writers of this new training programme have extensive practical and theoretical knowledge of DoLS; all teach and advise extensively on this area. They include an experienced psychiatrist and mental health assessor, a best interests assessor who is also an approved mental health professional and a lawyer specialising in the Mental Health Act (MHA) and the Mental Capacity Act (MCA). They have been further supported by a former DoLS lead who is part of the leadership group of the new Mental Capacity Forum.