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Medico-legal work of psychiatrists: direction, not drift: Commentary on… ‘You are instructed to prepare a report’

  • Keith J. B. Rix (a1)
Summary

Newly appointed consultants should not 'simply drift into (medico-legal) work because solicitors have asked them to’. They should already have had expert witness training. This is a challenge for training scheme organisers and consultant trainers. There should be no shortage of training opportunities. Core training should include the preparation of ‘ghost’ reports drafted by trainees but owned by the consultant. Higher training should provide opportunities for trainees to prepare reports in their own right albeit under supervision. Background reading and experience of court are also needed. Such training should avoid newly appointed consultants having to decline solicitors' requests to prepare psychiatric reports.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Keith Rix (drrix@drkeithrix.co.uk)
Footnotes
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See education & training, pp. 269–272, this issue.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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1 Thompson, AE. ‘You are instructed to prepare a report…’ How to make sound decisions about whether to accept or decline medico-legal work. Psychiatrist 2011; 35: 269272.
2 Royal College of Psychiatrists. Court Work (College Report CR147). Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2008.
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5 Bond, C, Solon, M, Harper, P, Davies, G. The Expert Witness: A Practical Guide (3rd rev edn). Sweet and Maxwell, 2007.
6 Blom-Cooper, L (ed). Experts in the Civil Courts. Oxford University Press, 2006.
7 Wall, N. A Handbook for Expert Witnesses in Children Act Cases. Jordan Publishing, 2007.
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9 British Medical Association, Law Society. Assessment of Mental Capacity: A Practical Guide for Doctors and Lawyers (3rd edn). Law Society, 2010.
10 Ormerod, D. Smith and Hogan Criminal Law (12th edn). Oxford University Press, 2008.
11 Hooper, LJ, Ormerod, D (eds) Blackstone's Criminal Practice. Blackstone Press, 2010.
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13 Mullany, NJ, Handford, P. Mullany and Handfort's Tort Liability for Psychiatric Damage (2nd rev edn). Law Book of Australasia, 2006.
14 Lewis, C. Clinical Negligence (6th rev edn). Tottel Publishing, 2006.
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17 Percival, T. Medical Ethics, or a Code of Institutes and Precepts, Adapted to the Professional Interests of Physicians and Surgeons. Russell, S., 1803.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 1758-3209
  • EISSN: 1758-3217
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Medico-legal work of psychiatrists: direction, not drift: Commentary on… ‘You are instructed to prepare a report’

  • Keith J. B. Rix (a1)
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