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Restricted Patients

Restricted patients are persons detained in hospital under a compulsion order with a restriction order. They have usually committed an offence punishable by imprisonment but as a result of mental disorder are not imprisoned but ordered to be detained in hospital for treatment, without limit of time. They are dealt with through a programme of treatment and rehabilitation - the aim being to prevent recurrence of offending by dealing with the mental disorder.

There are approximately 290 restricted patients in the system at any one time. Just over half are detained in the State Hospital with the remainder detained in local psychiatric hospitals or living in the community on conditional discharge.

Treatment plans for restricted patients are geared to individual circumstances and reflect the health and safety requirements of the patient, issues in relation to victims and their families and public safety considerations.

The Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland has responsibility for the discharge of restricted patients from hospital. Scottish Ministers have responsibility for the oversight and scrutiny of day to day management of restricted patients including authorising suspension of detention from hospital, transfers between hospitals, transfers between hospital and prison and recall from conditional discharge.


A Memorandum of Procedure on Restricted Patients is available which gives guidance to those who are involved with the management and care of restricted patients.



Please visit the Mental Health Officer (MHO) training section for useful documents for working with mentally disordered offenders:

A half day training event is also available for professionals managing restricted patients. Please contact Rosie Toal for more details on 0131 244 2510 to reserve a place on the next event.