We aimed to determine, using clinical audit, the effect of implementing national guidelines on the quality of responsible medical officers' (RMOs’) reports to the mental health review tribunal (MHRT). We blindly assessed the quality of 50 consecutive reports concerning patients detained under Sections 3 and 37. Twenty-five reports were written before guidelines were circulated; a further 25 were written following the distribution of guidelines and a checklist with every request for a report.
The quality of reports, as measured by our checklist, significantly improved following the circulation of guidelines.
Increasing the awareness of guidelines by widespread circulation and the audit process is an effective way of improving the quality of RMOs' reports to the MHRT.
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