The medical health emergency card

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7080.532 (Published 22 February 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:532

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Not to assuage public concern, but to make users' lives easier

  1. L P Weston, Senior registrara,
  2. L A Lawson, Senior registrarb
  1. a Shrodells Unit, Watford General Hospital, Hertfordshire WD1 8HB
  2. b New Possibilities NHS Trust, Bridge, Essex CM8 1EQ

    The idea of an emergency card carried by patients with certain conditions-for example, diabetes-is not new. A similar card for mentally ill patients is also not new: a users' group, Survivors Speak Out, first introduced a crisis card in 1989, and interest has since grown.1 Known as a mental health emergency card, its aim is to enable patients to give advance directives about their management. As such the card poses particular problems, not least in relation to the legal status of advance directives.2 At first sight mental health emergency cards seem to have something for everyone.3 However, contradictions in the objectives of different groups have delayed their widespread implementation and led to an atmosphere of distrust.

    Survivors Speak Out, the inventor of the card, …

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