The 1983 Mental Health Act gave increased responsibility to the Mental Health Act Commission and the Mental Health Review Tribunal to ensure safeguards in the treatment and detention of patients compulsorily admitted to hospital. Although most are agreed that the civil rights of patients admitted to hospital against their will are better protected under the new Act, some psychiatrists are irritated by the necessity to involve these bodies in what they regard as primarily clinical management. The North-East Division of the Royal College of Psychiatrists believed that debate on this issue might benefit both psychiatrists and others involved and this topic was chosen for the Annual Meeting of the Division in York on 28 September 1990. The meeting attracted other mental health care professionals and of the 144 participants almost one-third were not psychiatrists, but mainly social workers and psychologists. The sessions were chaired by the President of the College and Professor Donald Eccleston.
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