Secure psychiatric care “lacks proper control”

Procedures for checking people who have been sentenced to secure psychiatric care are flawed, according to a study carried out by the Swedish Board of Health and Welfare.

In stark contrast to the Prison Service’s checks on prisoners held in the country’s jails, certain clinics do not even know how many patients they have, the report shows.

“Secure psychiatric treatment is part of the penal system in Sweden, but at the same time nobody has national responsibility purely for psychiatric care – rather, like all other healthcare in the country it is run under the auspices of the welfare board,” said Gunnar Holmberg, who is investigating how the checking procedures can be improved, to Swedish Radio.

“But there’s nobody checking up on which patients are being treated, what treatment times they have, those sorts of details,” he said.

The inquiry was commissioned by the coordinator for psychiatric care in Sweden, Anders Milton, and is expected to be completed in the autumn, when it will be presented to the government.

At the end of April a man sentenced to psychiatric care for sexually abusing children escaped from the secure unit at Huddinge hospital. The psychiatric department at Huddinge commented that the man did tend to abscond for a few hours now and then, especially when the weather was fine.