Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards - elearning for healthcare
Menu Access our elearning programmes on the elfh Hub Hub Register / Log in >
This programme is in partnership with...
  • The Royal College of Psychiatrists

About the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards programme

This Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) Mental Health Assessor elearning programme is now available for use by qualifying doctors. The elearning 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 for specialist assessors, by Health Education England elearning for healthcare.

A more general training session on DoLS is appropriate for all health and social care professionals. This is available within the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) e-lfh programme.

Before proceeding to this 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 state:

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.

Note that successful completion of the two tests integral to this programme is a requirement for any doctor to practise as a DoLS mental health assessor.

How to complete the elearning

DoLS are an integral part of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and it is essential that doctors who are qualified to be DoLS 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 elearning resource.

Users will also need to complete and pass the DoLS Test of Understanding once they have completed the elearning training programme. Only when a user has successfully completed and passed both the MCA and DoLS tests 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 mental health assessor training programme as outlined in regulations.

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 elearning 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 elearning 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

    Jonathan Guy

    Senior Project Manager, HEE elearning for healthcare
  • Karen Walker - ID

    Karen Walker

    Lead Learning Designer, HEE elearning 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 the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards programme, you will need an elfh account. If you do not have one, then you can register by selecting the Register button below.

Register >

To view the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards programme, select the View button below. If you already have an account with elfh, you will also be able to login and enrol on the programme from the View button.

View >

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 elearning via ESR means that your completions will transfer with you throughout your NHS career.

Further details are available here.

Not an NHS organisation?

If you are not an NHS health or care organisation and therefore do not qualify for free access elfh Hub, you may be able to access the service by creating an OpenAthens account.

To check whether or not you qualify for free access via OpenAthens, you can view the eligibility criteria and register on the ‘OpenAthens’ portal.

Registering large numbers of users

If you are a HR, IT or Practice Manager and would like to register and enrol large numbers of staff within your organisation for access onto the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards programme, please contact elfh directly.

Organisations wishing to use their own LMS

For HR departments wanting to know more about gaining access to courses using an existing Learning Management System please contact elfh directly to express interest.

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.
You can check whether or not you qualify for free access by clicking on the ‘Register’ button above.

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

More information

Please select the following link for more information on how to use the elfh Hub.

elfh is a NHS England programme in partnership with the NHS and professional bodies