Secure pathways for women in the UK: lessons from the women's enhanced medium secure services (WEMSS)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Tammi Walker
  • Hannah Wilson
  • Louisa McNair
  • Kerry Gutridge
  • Heather Mitchell
  • Louise Robinson
  • Kathryn Abel


Women’s enhanced medium secure services (WEMSS) is a model of care aimed at providing a more appropriate level of security for women and, insodoing, reducing the number of women in high secure psychiatric services. In 2007, 3 Department of Health commissioned
WEMSS pilots became operational. This study compared the clinical outcomes of women in WEMSS with control women in 6 standard medium secure services and 1 high secure service matched on key clinical and risk characteristics, in order to examine their pathways of care. Our findings confirm that the WEMSS pilots were successful in transitioning women from high secure services who had previously been thought unsuitable for medium secure services. However, WEMSS showed no additional clinical benefit, suggesting that these women could be cared for equally well within standard medium secure services. We make recommendations about WEMSS and the future shape of women’s secure care in England.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalThe Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology
Early online date1 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016