The government has accepted the recommendations of an
influential report calling for patients in high security hospitals
to be locked in their cells at night, and have their telephone
calls monitored in the interests of security.
The former director general of the prison service, Sir Richard
Tilt, carried out a review of the country's three special hospitals
His report into Ashworth, Broadmoor and Rampton hospitals made a
series of security and staffing recommendations, which the
government has pledged to implement by September with a £55
million cash boost.
Among Sir Richard's recommendation are the introduction of
mandatory drugs testing, monitoring of patients' telephone calls,
and locking some patients' cells at night. Visitors could also be
barred from bringing food into the hospitals.
Other recommendations include upgrading security systems and
perimeter fencing, personal alarms for staff and annual Prison
Service security audits.
Health minister John Hutton said the government had accepted Sir
Richard's recommendations in full and that implementation of the
recommendations would begin later this year.
He added: "The report makes it clear that security at the three
hospitals needs to be improved, and over the next few weeks
officials will be working with clinicians to make sure that the
measures are implemented effectively."