Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards - e-Learning for Healthcare
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This programme is in partnership with...
  • The Royal College of Psychiatrists

About the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards programme

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) e-learning programme is now available for use by qualifying doctors. The e-learning programme has been extensively revised and updated and has been released as part of a collaboration between Health Education England, the Department of Health and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The programme replaces any previous training on DoLS by Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare.

Before proceeding to the training programme, please check that you fit the criteria of doctors who are eligible to carry out the mental health assessment under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. The relevant regulations are:

Eligibility to carry out a mental health assessment

  1. A person is eligible to carry out a mental health assessment if paragraphs (2) and (3) are met
  2. The person must be:
    a) approved under section 12 of the Mental Health Act 1983; or
    b) a registered medical practitioner who the supervisory body is satisfied has at least three years post registration experience in the diagnosis or treatment of mental disorder
  3. The supervisory body must be satisfied that the person has successfully completed the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Mental Health Assessors training programme made available by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

How to complete the e-learning

DoLS are an integral part of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and it is essential that doctors and mental health assessors have a good practical knowledge of the MCA. The MCA Test of Understanding has been created as part of the DoLS programme and all users must complete and successfully pass the test before moving on to the DoLS e-learning resource.

Users will also need to complete and pass the DoLS Test of Understanding once they have completed the e-learning training programme. Only when a user has successfully completed and passed both the MCA and DoLS test will they be able to generate a certificate, which can be presented to a supervisory body as evidence that they have satisfactorily completed the DoLS online training programme.

More information

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 a member of the leadership group of the new National Mental Capacity Forum.

Executive group

  • Alan Ryan

    National Programme Director, HEE e-Learning for Healthcare programme and TEL Lead
  • Guy Cross

    Guy Cross

    Mental Health Act Approvals Manager, Department of Health

Project team

  • Julie Chalmers

    Julie Chalmers

    MBChB, LLM, FRCPsych Clinical Lead and Specialist Advisor in Mental Health Law, RCPSYCH, Consultant Psychiatrist, s12 approved and DoLS Mental Health Assessor
  • Jonathan Guy

    Senior Project Manager, HEE e-Learning for Healthcare
  • Karen Walker - ID

    Karen Walker

    Lead Instructional Designer, HEE e-Learning for Healthcare

Author and Peer review team

  • Steve Chamberlain

    Steve Chamberlain

    Independent trainer and Social Worker
  • Rachel Griffiths

    Rachel Griffiths

    Consultant on the Mental Capacity Act

How to access

In order to access any e-LfH programme, you will need an e-LfH account. If you do not have one, then you can register by selecting the Register button below.

Register >

If you already have an account with e-LfH, then you can enrol on to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards programme by logging in to the e-LfH Hub, selecting My Account > Enrolment and selecting the programme. You can then access the programme immediately in the My e-Learning section.

How to license

In the event that you do not qualify for free access to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards programme, you are able to license access through eIntegrity, a community-interest company established for this purpose.

For more information on the licensing options available for the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards programme, please visit the eIntegrity website.

NHS healthcare staff in England

The  Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards programme is also available to NHS healthcare staff via the Electronic Staff Record (ESR). Accessing this e-Learning via ESR means that your completions will transfer with you throughout your NHS career.

Further details are available here.

e-LfH is a Health Education England Programme in partnership with the NHS and Professional Bodies