Non-clinical and extra-legal influences on decisions about compulsory admission to psychiatric hospital

Quirk, A., Lelliott, P., Audini, B. and Buston, K. (2003) Non-clinical and extra-legal influences on decisions about compulsory admission to psychiatric hospital. Journal of Mental Health, 12(2), pp. 119-130. (doi:10.1080/0963823031000103434)

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Publisher's URL: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0963823031000103434

Abstract

Background: On the eve of reform of the 1983 Mental Health Act (MHA), little is known about how decisions to admit people under its powers are made. Aims: To describe non-clinical and extra-legal influences on professionals’ decisions about compulsory admission to psychiatric hospital. Method: Participant-observation of MHA assessments, including informal and depth interviews with the practitioners involved, and follow-up interviews with the people who had been assessed. Results: A candidate patient’s chance of being sectioned is likely to increase when there are no realistic alternatives to in-patient care. This typically occurs when staff have insufficient time to set such alternatives in place and are unsupported by other professionals in doing this. Outcomes may also be affected by local operational norms and the level of professional accountability for specific MHA decisions. Conclusion: Non-clinical and extra-legal factors explain some of the geographical variation in MHA admission rates. If compulsion is to be used only in the ‘last resort’, administrators and policy makers should look beyond legislative change to matters of resource allocation and service organisation.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Buston, Dr Katie
Authors: Quirk, A., Lelliott, P., Audini, B., and Buston, K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Journal of Mental Health
ISSN:0963-8237
ISSN (Online):1360-0567

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