Risk, and how to manage risk, have become dominant themes of this decade. Risk is essentially any feature of an organisation which is likely to prevent that organisation from achieving its primary aims (Rosen, 1995). In general, the lower the risk in an organisation, the higher the performance of that organisation is likely to be. In turn this can lead to more efficient use of resources. In the area of mental health, the consequences of risk can be serious, this being amply demonstrated by the public inquiries into homicides by mentally disordered people. Such inquiries consistently reveal inadequacies in local services providing mental health care (Appleby, 1997). The identification and management of risk within local mental health services has therefore become a priority. Clinicians as managers have a key role in such a development, particularly with the introduction of clinical governance (Oyebode et al, 1999). This paper outlines a simple approach to risk management in a local mental health service.
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