The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (2018) provides recommendations for improved patient safety in mental health settings and reduced patient suicide rates. 

The evidence from the National Confidential Inquiry is cited in national policies, guidance and regulation across the UK.  

One of the recommendations is around Safer Wards. This standard, which we are benchmarked against, advises that we should:

  • review in-patient safety
  • remove ligature points from wards
  • there should be measures in place to prevent patients from leaving the ward without staff agreement; this might be through better monitoring of ward entry and exit points
  • improving the inpatient experience through recreation, privacy and comfort.
  • Observation policies should recognise that observation is a skilled intervention to be carried out by experienced staff
  • recognition that suicide risk is increased within the first week of admission.

To support these recommendations there is a requirement that all wards have an up-to-date environmental and ligature risk assessment. 

There is a training course and an associated competency assessment for ward staff to complete.  This is to ensure that colleagues have:

    • an understanding of their own roles and responsibilities in completing and the review processes of the environmental and ligature risk assessments
    • A clear understanding of the Trust process