NSUN commissioned WISH to conduct a review of involvement practice in forensic settings.

The resulting report has now been published.

Many NHS and independent sector forensic units are failing to provide adequate and meaningful opportunities for service user involvement.

This is the conclusion of a review carried out by WISH on behalf of NSUN and published in October. Just under half (74) of the 154 secure psychiatric hospitals identified in the survey returned the questionnaire.

The responses showed low levels of user involvement and a widespread lack of robust structures that would give service users a meaningful say in how services are designed and delivered.

In only 55% of NHS hospitals was there a member of staff with specific responsibility for service user involvement. The most common type of forum for service user involvement was the weekly community meeting (96%), followed by the patient’s council (47%).

The issues dealt with were mainly day-to-day concerns, such as smoking, activities, food, and the ward environment. Many units lacked any mechanisms for feedback or to evaluate effectiveness of these forums.

The report makes several recommendations – not least that all forensic hospitals should have a designated service user involvement lead post, and a senior manager with specific responsibility for user involvement. NSUN says forensic units also need clear guidelines on good practice and mechanisms for ensuring feedback and assessing the effectiveness of user involvement structures and forums.

NSUN will use the survey findings to bid for funds for further research into embedding user involvement in forensic settings.

An implementation plan will set out how the recommendations will be taken forward.

To find out about WISH please visit https://www.womenatwish.org.uk/

Document by this project:

Forensic report