Potential effects of retraction of the high-security hospitals
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The high-security hospitals are undergoing a retraction process. In conjunction with this, regional services are being developed for those patients who require longer term treatment at medium-security units. This paper aims to provide an overview of the issues involved, along with the background against which these changes are taking place and the uncertainties involved in the process. This current paper will use the information available from the Fender reports and other evidence to examine potential implications of the major changes that are underway in the high-security hospitals. Major changes are taking place in prison healthcare that will impact upon the demand for beds in both mediumand high-security units. The impact upon the prison sector of inadequate numbers of high-security beds is likely to be serious. The high-security hospitals provide treatment for the most challenging and complex minority of prisoners transferred into the healthcare system. There is a risk that the manpower needs across all disciplines will have a negative impact upon other parts of mental health services which may already be struggling to recruit and retain staff. There is a need for the commissioning process to become more clinically informed and the complexity and inherent risks to be acknowledged and taken into account in the planning process.