Suicides in the Fife region were investigated over a two-year period. The timing of the final contact with general practitioners and psychiatric services was ascertained. Data were collected from procurators fiscal records, general practices, and where applicable, psychiatric records.
There were 74 suicide victims during the study period. Forty-six per cent of suicide victims saw their general practitioner in the month before death, and 55% had a history of previous contact with psychiatric services, although only 27% of this group saw a psychiatrist in the month before death.
Clinical audit of suicide is an important task for psychiatric services. Practitioners must continually assess risk and attempt, where possible, to reduce risk factors.
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