Many acute inpatient psychiatric wards in the U.K. are kept permanently locked, despite the fact that this is contrary to the current Mental Health Act Code of Practice. Researchers from City University, London, reviewed 11 papers on the subject of door locking. They found that both service users and staff reported advantages of the practice including preventing illegal substances from entering and preventing service users from absconding and harming themselves or others. The disadvantages included making service users feel depressed and confined, and creating extra work for staff. Locked wards were associated with increased patient aggression, poorer satisfaction with treatment and more severe symptoms.
Van der Merwe, M. ... [et al] - Locked doors in acute inpatient psychiatry: a literature review Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing April 2009, 16(3), 293-299