It was noted that approaches to the assessment and management of individuals intoxicated with alcohol who express suicidal ideation varied widely. This study explored what guidance is currently available and sought the opinions of 218 junior and senior psychiatrists.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists has no specific guidelines on this issue, but the Medical Defence Union and Scottish Central Legal Office gave opinion regarding a psychiatrist's duty of care and clinical responsibilities. This information did not reflect the opinions of the psychiatrists canvassed. There was no consensus among the 65% of clinicians who responded to the survey.
There is a need for greater clarity and guidance on the management of individuals who are intoxicated and express acute suicidal ideation. Sharing of good practice guidelines and greater integration of local and national policies is needed. It is certainly a topic worthy of inclusion in all induction days for junior psychiatrists.
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