Posted on 12th May, 2005
The Safe and Therapeutic Services Conference held in April explored the issue of whether doors on adult in-patients wards should be locked or not. The event included discussion groups looking at all aspects of safety, therapy and activity on the wards. More than 120 people attended the event including many service users and carers, as well as Trust staff and the media. The highlights of the five presentations given were the personal and moving experiences of service user Emma Laughton – ‘What it means to be locked up?’ - and Liz, who shared her thoughts and experiences from a carer’s perspective. Presentations were given by Malcolm Rae Lead, Acute In-Patient Service, National Institute for Mental Health, England, Roland Dix, Consultant Nurse, Intensive Care and Low Secure Rehabilitation, Gloucestershire Partnership NHS Trust and Len Bowyers, Professor of Psychiatric Nursing and Head of Research, City University, London. These informed the debates that took place in the discussion groups and resulted in a lively panel discussion at the end of the day. They gave different views on a range of topics including locking doors, staffing, mix of staff and the role of psychiatric intensive care. The research carried out by Len Bowyers on why, how and when people choose to leave wards without agreement and the interventions introduced to reduce people leaving was extremely useful and provided statistical evidence to support the findings. The feedback following the event was extensive - the most important being to see some real results coming out of the day, to bring about practical changes that will benefit service users, carers and staff. The steering group that organised the event will continue to meet over the coming months to drive this forward.