Tracking patients on leave from a secure setting
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Tracking patients on leave from a secure setting

Dave Hearn Security team leader, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Dave Hearn explains how the use of a global positioning satellite device can help staff reduce absconding and protect members of the public from risk of harm

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust wanted to improve the safety of patients on leave from a medium secure unit while, at the same time, promoting leave and recovery. The trust issued staff with a small non-removable global positioning satellite tracking device for these patients to wear around the ankle. This is the first time that such a tracking device has been used in mental health. Initial findings showed that in the first two years of use the number of leave incidents fell by 75 per cent, and the amount of leave granted to patients could be increased, and protection of the public maintained.

Mental Health Practice. 16, 6, 17-21. doi: 10.7748/mhp2013.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 19 March 2012

Accepted: 14 November 2012

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