The manner in which forensic mental health services are delivered for people is to be reviewed, Mental Health Minister, Clare Haughey, has announced.

Forensic mental health services specialise in the assessment, treatment, and risk management of people with a mental disorder who are currently undergoing, or have previously undergone, legal or court proceedings.

Ms Haughey said that changes in recent years to the way that such services are delivered means that a review is timely.

She added, ‘In recent years there has been a significant adjustment in the delivery of forensic mental health services. My recent annual ministerial review of the State Hospital examined a number of issues, not least how the board responds to a decline in the number of patients detained in high security, and the development of medium secure services elsewhere. We have also seen the introduction of excessive security appeals for patients detained in medium security and a continuing move towards community services.

‘There is now a need to review more widely the delivery of forensic mental health services in light of these changes and new developments. Future forensic mental health service development needs to reflect the proposed future structures of forensic services, key priorities for our health services, and joined-up practices with criminal justice services.

‘Today I have confirmed the scope of the review and I will set out further details, including the chair, in due course.’

Additionally, Dr John Crichton, Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, commented, ‘The Royal College of Psychiatrists welcomes today’s announcement of a review into the delivery of forensic mental health services in Scotland.

‘With the number of patients in high security falling over recent years, a review of how patient needs are met at the most appropriate level of security is welcomed – care that promotes safe recovery in the least restrictive setting.

‘There is also a need to review and improve mental health services in prisons, while ensuring that those being released from prison have access to continuing mental health support and throughcare.

‘The government’s focus on finding a solution in Scotland for female patients who require high security services and children who need secure mental health care is also welcomed, given the difficulties and disadvantages of transferring patients to services in England.’