The State Hospital

The State Hospital, Carstairs, Lanark ML11 8RP
Phone: 01555 840293 Fax: 01555 840024 email:

Welcome and Overview

About Us

Although The State Hospital shares the same values, aims and challenges as the rest of the NHS in Scotland, it is unique because it has the dual responsibility of caring for very ill, detained patients as well as protecting them, the public and staff from Photo: State Hospital Signharm.’

In 1994 legislation went through Parliament to bring The State Hospital legally into the National Health Service in Scotland as a Special Health Board - The State Hospitals Board for Scotland - accountable to Scottish Ministers through the Scottish Government.

The State Hospital is one of four high secure hospitals in the UK. It is a national service for Scotland and Northern Ireland and one part of the pathway of care that should be available for those with secure care needs.

Photo: State Hospital Front Entrance














Approximately 700 staff are employed by the Board to provide high secure forensic mental health services for up to 140 patients.

The purpose is both to provide care and treatment of the highest standards and to ensure public safety.

The State Hospital has four strategic aims: improving physical health; effective use of resources; pathways for access, treatment and transfer; and improving the quality of patient care and drives forward the quality improvement agenda in line with the NHSScotland Healthcare Quality Strategy.

The main aim is to rehabilitate patients, ensuring safe transfer to appropriate lower levels of security.

The State Hospital is located in Lanarkshire in central Scotland, midway between the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Patients are treated in accommodation appropriate to their needs and in an environment that supports rehabilitation.


Photo: Patient Accommodation (Ward Hub and Cluster)












Partnership working with South Lanarkshire Council is well established and provides social work services for patients and their families in addition to liaising with patients’ designated Mental Health Officers (MHOs) across the country.

Given that the patients do not have access to other services or communities, the Hospital addresses all of their needs (e.g. therapeutic, vocational, social and physical wellbeing) via a range of therapeutic, educational, diversional and recreational services including a Health Centre.


Photo: Skye Centre for Patient Therapy and Activity












The Forensic Mental Health Services Managed Care Network (Forensic Network) is hosted by The State Hospital.

Well developed relationships exist with the Mental Health Tribunal Service for Scotland and the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, and good partnership working is in place across the Forensic Network to ensure these patients are transferred as required.


Patients (2013/14)

Photo: Hub EntrancePatients are admitted to the Hospital under The Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 and other related legislation because of their dangerous, violent or criminal propensities.

77% of the patients are ‘restricted’ patients within the jurisdiction of Scottish Ministers. Patients without convictions will have displayed seriously aggressive behaviours, usually including violence.

Photo: Hub Day RoomDuring 2013/14 there were 42 patients admitted: 17 from the Courts, 15 from prisons, nine from other NHS hospitals and one from the community.

In the same year 43 patients were discharged: five to the Courts, three to prisons, 34 to other NHS hospitals and one to the community. Unfortunately one patient died of natural causes during the year.

Photo: Hub Dining RoomAll patients are male, with an average age of 41.

The most common primary diagnosis is schizophrenia.

The current average length of stay is 7.2 years, with individual lengths of stay ranging from two months to over 40 years.



The Hospital has achieved a number of major awards:

  • Eat Safe Award for Excellence in Food Hygiene.

  • Healthyliving Award and Healthyliving Award Plus for Promoting Healthy Eating.

  • Health Facilities Scotland's, Innovations Award and "The Paul Taylor" overall winner award.

  • Investing in Volunteers (IiV).

  • Healthy Working Lives Gold Plus Award which incorporates both the Gold Award and the Mental Health & Wellbeing Commendation Award.


Printable Information

State Hospital Fact Sheet - 'About Us' (September 2015)Opens in a new window