Services: Forensic (FMHS)

Forensic Mental Health Services (FMHS) specialise in the assessment and treatment of people with mental disorders involved with legal or court proceedings, or who have offended. They are not part of the prison service. A person’s mental disorder may be assessed as being a factor contributing to their offending behaviour. Therefore the ethos of services is one of care and treatment which manages any identified risk, rather than punishment and containment. Not everyone treated within forensic mental health services will have committed an offence but they may need specialist care and treatment that is not available in other mental health facilities.

How we can help

Advocacy is offered to carers, i.e. families and friends of people using forensic mental health services. This can be in the community or in a hospital setting.

Advocacy for carers can be helpful at any time; including:

  • When a person is first charged with an offence
  • Prior to and in court for trial diet
  • Prior to and in court for sentencing
  • While in the community on a treatment or probation order
  • While detained in hospital pre-sentencing and post-sentencing
  • At time of discharge from hospital setting.

An example of how advocacy can help

Pat was unsure of her new role as a ‘named person’ for her son, Jack, who had been admitted to the Orchard Clinic. With the help of her advocacy worker, she was able to better understand her rights within this role and how she could be involved in making decisions for her son’s care. Working together to look through the information gave Pat greater confidence to take part in Tribunals and care reviews and to communicate any concerns she had to staff. Pat feels her relationships with nursing staff are much more positive and she is feels confident that Jack is receiving the best care available.

How to access our service

Edinburgh Carers Council advocacy service is offered for carers in Lothian, Borders and Fife who support patients being treated on IPCU wards and rehabilitation wards in acute hospitals as well as the medium secure forensic facility at the Orchard Clinic, Royal Edinburgh Hospital. To find out about using our advocacy services in Edinburgh please contact us on 0131 322 8480.

National Forensic Carers Network

The Forensic Carers Network meets quarterly. The group is open to any carer supporting someone using forensic mental health services. The group is supported by the Forensic Mental Health Services Managed Care Network to;

  • have an annual conference as an opportunity to explore further particular issues family and friends may have in relation to supporting someone in forensic mental health services
  • have a web page dedicated to family and friends on the Forensic Network website (see link below)
  • distribute a newsletter for family and friends of those using FMHS. This newsletter is available for download from Forensic Network carer information page.

Edinburgh Carers Council attend this group and can support carers who would like to attend the meetings. Support can also be given with travel/ transport. If you would like to know more, please contact us on 0131 322 8480.

Carers Conference Report

Edinburgh Carers Council worked with a group of carers from Edinburgh and other carers groups from Glasgow and Tayside, and staff from NHS Lothian and The Forensic Network to organise the fourth Scottish Forensic Mental health Carers Conference in May 2011. The event aimed to collate carer experience as it relates to forensic mental health services and highlight issues as carers see them. You can read the report from this conference here.

Other useful links:

The Forensic Network