Suicidal, violent or vulnerable patients can harm themselves or others at times of high risk during their recovery.

Service Description

Beginning initially in mental health, this is an improvement programme to improve observation practice. We aim to support services to therapeutically engage with suicidal, violent or vulnerable patients to prevent them from harming themselves or others at times of high risk during their recovery.


NHS boards are being asked for expressions of interest to undertake a review of their current systems and processes using a baseline information toolkit. The national SPSP team will support you to design, test and implement a range of interventions over a 15 month period to improve observation practice. Data will be collected throughout the testing period to understand progress over time, with the opportunity to share learning across all NHS boards.


NHS boards

Benefits of programme

Every person in any healthcare care setting who is assessed as requiring enhanced levels of observation to experience:

  • enhanced observation only when there is no less restrictive alternative
  • care carried out with the patient and with, wherever possible, with informed consent
  • care from a multidisciplinary care team with the required skills; reviewed every 24 hours
  • not carried out for longer than clinically indicated
  • carried out as part of the individual’s care plan and as such is responsive to their safety and recovery needs; and
  • does not experience unnecessary harm to; is not stigmatising; and meets the requirements of Mental Health and Human Rights legislation.


Johnathan MacLennan


Tool Kit