Following recommendations made by our 2004–2005 audit, we carried out a re-audit of the local Section 297 protocol in 2007–2008. Our aim was to establish the quality of documented information provided by the police; adherence to the protocol; completion rates of documentation; and rates of notification to the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, in keeping with the standards set in the Code of Practice of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.
We reliably traced 84 POS1 forms completed in accordance with the protocol. The audit identified a rate of 74–89% notification to the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland. By comparison, there is a surprisingly wide variation in notification rates across Scotland. Good-quality information was given by the police, despite receiving no additional training.
This audit highlights a serious lack of information about place-of-safety legislation in Scotland. For patients in the catchment area, the joint protocol and use of standard documentation has significantly standardised patient care. Other health boards and police forces should consider this as they implement legislation.
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