The Royal College of Psychiatrists has published national guidelines for services for those who carry out deliberate self-harm. This study aimed to discover whether these recommendations are being followed. We conducted a semi-structured interview with a professional from the accident and emergency service and one from the specialist service at each of 16 hospitals in the former Yorkshire Regional Health Authority. The findings are that services are not adhering to the guidelines. The production of guidelines without an adequate implementation strategy is ineffective. The Department of Health should endorse the College guidelines, and produce an implementation strategy to secure the involvement of purchasers and providers.
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