Luiz Dratcu makes a case for a new specialty of acute inpatient psychiatry; Frank Holloway argues otherwise. In neither instance are the arguments at all surprising, and in both they are eloquently expressed. The case for a new specialty is based upon recognition of a continuing need for acute psychiatric in-patient services, and recognition that these services require particular skills and facilities which are likely to be most efficiently and effectively provided when interests and activities are focused upon them. The case against does not deny the need for attention to widely acknowledged shortcomings of many acute psychiatric in-patient services, but it does ask the questions ‘what should constitute a specialty?’ and ‘what benefit would flow from having a specialty and for whom?’
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