To extract relevant information for clinicians from reported and/or accessible cases involving psychiatric illness brought under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). Institutional databases were searched for DDA cases and relevant guidance from case law extracted.
Over half the cases reaching higher courts involve psychiatric illness. A number of decisions provide guidance for clinicians wishing to aid their own patients, and those involved as expert witnesses. These cover which conditions are included as impairments (almost everything in ICD–10), what associated effects are to be considered, and the relevance of comorbidity and treatment. Cases often involve recovery of clinical documents that reveal interesting variation in professional standards.
Virtually all patients of psychiatrists in secondary care would be covered by the DDA. Knowledge of this Act could be used to enhance a patient's access to employment and services, and potentially overcome some of the effects of stigmatisation.
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