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Psychiatric services are dangerous, warn doctors

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 09 July 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:77
  1. Luisa Dillner
  1. BMJ.

    Potentially violent psychiatric patients in parts of London are waiting up to two months for beds in private medium secure units. Some patients are being placed as far away as Yorkshire. “We have a five bedded locked ward for patients who need intensive treatment, but this is for a population of nearly 200000—we used to have 15 beds five years ago,” said Dr Zerrin Atakan, a senior lecturer in psychiatry at South Western Hospital in West Lambeth. “The unit is at times completely blocked with forensic patients, and when we admit a new patient who is acutely disturbed we have to move someone from the unit on to an open ward because these patients are waiting to be placed in private secure units. We believe that some of these patients are a risk to themselves and to others.

    “I have not been able to …

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