Swedish Radio News has found that some patients being kept in secure psychiatric wards, have in fact been sufficiently healthly to return to the community.
In one such case, a man was kept in a facility for six years longer than necessary.
Patients become trapped on these wards when county and local councils fail to agree on who should pick up the bill for patients’ housing and care once they return to the community.
In one case, a man who had been cleared to return to the community was murdered by a fellow patient at a secure ward in Stockholm. Staff say the man was deemed to be sufficiently healthy to leave the secure ward in the summer of 2005, but local and county authorities could not agree on which of them should pay for the man’s housing, once he left the secure unit.
Yhe cost of his flat would have been seven times less than the 640 US dollars a day it cost to keep the man in secure care.
After a further eight months delay, the man was murdered by a fellow patient on the ward.
Although there are no documented statistics on how often psychiatric patients remain in secure care unecessarily in Sweden, staff on these wards that Swedish Radio News spoke to say the problem is common, and has been going on for years.