Current affairs groups are run informally in a number of psychiatric wards, both acute and chronic. They are mostly arranged by the nursing staff and occasionally by an enthusiastic senior house officer or registrar. The goals may be positive such as to stimulate, generate discussion, and encourage understanding and tolerance. Sadly, some groups develop with the negative aim of ‘just having to do it’, as a ‘traditional’ part of the ward programme. We realised from our training years that a current affairs group could be a clinical asset on an acute admission ward if it was run with the following objectives: improved clinical assessment, especially of patients' mental state, and improved understanding and better relationship between patients and doctors.
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