The present role of the medical member combines considerable common sense strengths with a particular legal weakness. It reflects a compromise between the need to inform the judicial process with an appropriate level of medical expertise, and the risk that information could be presented to the tribunal without being open to challenge by the patient.
Concern over this perceived, but unresearched risk, is reflected in the Green Paper on the Reform of the Mental Health Act 1983 (Department of Health, 1999). Here the bold solution to a problem of uncertain significance is to remove the offending medical member.
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