To assess the views of patients and mental health professionals on the practice of copying clinical letters to patients. Patients and professionals from local community mental health teams were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their views.
The questionnaires were completed by 51 patients and 40 mental health professionals. Significantly more patients (83%) than staff (37%) thought that copying letters to patients was a good idea (OR=14.56, 95% CI 4.674 –45.158). Many staff appeared concerned that copying letters to patients could result in breakdown of the therapeutic relationship, causing distress and anxiety.
Considerable work is needed for clinicians to feel comfortable in copying letters to patients. The creation of working groups, including users, carers, managers and clinicians working in the field of mental health, would facilitate the development of guidelines for this practice.
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