In January 1999, the Scottish Executive announced plans to develop and improve services for people with mental illness. These included proposals to develop a network of new medium secure care centres across Scotland to bridge the gap that currently exists between high security inpatient facilities, such as those provided by the State Hospital at Carstairs, and low security inpatient facilities such as those at Leverndale and Dykebar Hospitals. The new Mental Health Act also places a requirement on NHS Boards to ensure that patients with a mental illness are able to be treated in facilities which meet their needs and are not subject to higher levels of security than they require. A medium secure care centre is a specialist type of mental health hospital. It provides care for the small number of patients with mental illnesses who require to be treated in a more secure environment than a general or low security mental health hospital can provide but who do not require high security care.
A network of medium secure care centres are already in place across England and Wales. Rowanbank Clinic is the second centre to be built in Scotland. It follows the opening in November 2000 of the 50 bed Orchard Clinic in the grounds of Royal Edinburgh Hospital which serves the East of Scotland. A further facility is planned at Murray Royal Hospital in Perth to serve the north of the country. Plans to develop a separate West of Scotland facility at Dykebar Hospital have been postponed pending the outcome of a review of mental health services across Clyde. In the meantime, it has been agreed with the Scottish Executive that Rowanbank Clinic will provide medium secure care services for the West of Scotland on an interim basis. This will ensure NHS Boards are able to comply with the new Mental Health Act. By retaining low secure mental health beds at Leverndale, we have been able to accommodate this interim arrangement without changing the size, external design or increasing the overall number of beds at Rowanbank Clinic. Patients from the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area will still account for the majority of patients treated at Rowanbank Clinic.