While conducting a study on the nature and extent of compulsory admissions to mental hospitals within the four London regional health authorities, discrepancies and inaccuracies were revealed in many of those mental hospital in-patient statistics. The nature and extent of some of these are examined. It is suggested that the value of such statistics for government planning must be questioned as is their value for research. It is recommended that a centralised system of collecting and collating such data be introduced as a matter of priority and that such a system be operated by the Mental Health Act Commission.
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