This paper seeks to share findings of a 2 year study funded by the Scottish Government on a new model of health care delivery to detainees in police holding cells. There are few studies that explore the healthcare needs of detainees in the United Kingdom with the little available evidence indicating that detainees have higher incidents of mental health problems than the general population (Payne-James et al., 2010; Harris et al., 2006). Following critical incidents within the holding cells it was acknowledged that better service delivery was needed for health problems involving substance abuse and mental illness. In 2010 the Chief Constables of Scotland funded a two year study of a nurse led pilot model of care being delivered to such populations. This paper describes the realistic evaluation methodology used for the study and insights into the infrequently approved ethical process of studying such vulnerable populations. Key fi ndings relating to mental health will be identifi ed as a mechanism to generate critical discussion on not only models of care for holding cells populations but also the factors underpinning the effi - cacy of services when led by nurses.
Hurley, J & Linsley, P 2012, 'A realistic evaluation of nurse led services for service users within Scottish police holding cell environments', paper presented to Australian College of Mental Health Nursing 38th International Conference: The fabric of life, Darwin, NT, 3-5 October.