A postal questionnaire survey of intensive care units/ locked wards in Scottish psychiatric hospitals revealed a lack of structural security features (other than a locked door) and an absence of personal alarm systems for staff in a substantial minority of units. The main reasons for transfer to locked units were physical violence to others and absconding risk, and the commonest diagnosis was schizophrenia. Transfer of in-patients not detained under mental health legislation was not uncommon. Differences in practice with regard to the transfer process were evident. In Scotland local locked facilities play an important role in secure provision and further evaluative research is required.
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