Medical reports submitted to mental health review tribunals should be of a clinically acceptable standard. We examined 100 medical reports to assess whether they stated the four criteria for detention under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983. We compared the standard of reports according to the seniority, qualifications and speciality of the doctor, and with the outcome from the tribunal.
The majority of the reports were written by junior doctors and did not fulfil the criteria laid down by the Mental Health Act 1983. Consultant and forensic psychiatry status were associated with completed reports.
This study was performed in one hospital only but highlights the ongoing need to review and improve the workings of the Mental Health Act before reform is considered.
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