The Ministry of Justice, responsible for publishing death reports, have recently issued their annual statistical bulletin. The document includes the death statistics for 2015, across England and Wales, postmortems findings and inquest conclusions. This year, the document comprised a section entitled Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, illustrating the deaths of vulnerable people in care facilities. As part of the key findings, they stated the number of total deaths in 2015 has risen by 6% (12,565) in the past year, along with a rise of deaths that occur under DoLS. The death of vulnerable people has risen considerable since 2013, as the figures below illustrate.
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
This publication introduces, for the first time, deaths that occurred while an individual was subject to a DoLS. There were a total of 7,183 such deaths in 2015, 6,760 (94%) of which were the result of natural causes. The remaining 423 were comprised of 194 males and 229 females. As of 31 March 2015, HSCIC reported there were 36,215 active DoLS authorisations in place.
Deaths while under Mental Health Act detention
There were 188 deaths reported to coroners in 2015 of people subject to detention under the Mental Health Act, compared to 100 in 2014 and 97 in 2013. The MOJ report does not offer any suggestions for why there was an increase.
The figures reported by the National Confidential Inquiry are generally taken to be the most widely respected, but The Guardian has reported that the 3,899 rulings of suicide in coroners’ courts in 2015 represents the highest annual number since records began in 1995. Male suicides declined by 23 compared to the previous year to 2,997, but female suicides increased by 70 on the 2014 number to reach 902.
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