A system operating at capacity, leading to problems accessing the services provided, are revealed in the interim report of the Independent Review into the Delivery of Forensic Mental Health Services.
The review, under Derek Barron, director of care at Erskine, has been taking evidence on the way the system works. Mr Barron has personally met more than 300 people to hear their experiences, and has received a further 103 written submissions.
People said the services in the system are "at capacity", he states, which stops the system working effectively. Services are unable to respond properly when people need them, and they can wait a long time to get a place in the right level of security – or the right accommodation and support to move back into the community, which adds to the problems elsewhere in the system.
There are difficulties involving family members at the right level; from an insufficiently person-centred approach to care and treatment; from not having access to activities when in care; with arrangements for "populations of particular interest", including women, those with learning disabilities or autism, young people and older people; in diverting people away from the criminal justice system; with services for people in prison; and in accessing the appeal system, with some people giving up because of the time they have to wait.
Mr Barron commented: "This report reflects what people receiving, delivering and supporting others within forensic mental health services felt was important that the review knew. It also includes some of the ways in which people felt these the services could be improved.
"The review is not recommending solutions in this report. The report’s aim is to share what we were told. We will now use what it tells us to consider recommendations for change.
"I want to thank everyone who has shared their experiences, observations and opinions. I’d like to say a particular thank you to the people with lived experience and their families who spent time with the review team. I hope you can hear your voice in this report."
Click here to access the report, along with an executive summary and easy-read version.