To evaluate differences between male patients in secure psychiatric settings in the UK based on whether they are detained under civil or forensic sections of the Mental Health Act 1983. A cohort of patients discharged from a secure psychiatric hospital were evaluated for length of stay and frequency of risk-related incidents.
Overall, 84 patients were included in the study: 52 in the forensic group and 32 in the civil group. Civil patients had more frequent incidents of aggression, sex offending, fire-setting and vulnerability, whereas forensic patients had more frequent episodes of self-harm.
Secure hospitals should ensure treatment programmes are tailored to each patient's needs. Civil patients require greater emphasis on treatment of their mental illness, whereas forensic patients have additional offence-related treatment needs. Regular liaison between forensic and general adult services is essential to help ensure patients can return to appropriate settings at the earliest opportunity in their recovery.
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