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Mental health law obsolete, says inquiry

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 21 January 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:145

An inquiry into the fatal stabbing of an occupational therapist by a schizophrenic patient in Britain has condemned the 1983 Mental Health Act as obsolete and called for it to be replaced. The independent inquiry, led by Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC, was set up after Georgina Robinson, aged 26, was stabbed by a patient at the Edith Morgan psychiatric centre in Torbay on 1 September 1993. She died five weeks later in hospital. The inquiry's report says, “Mrs Wendy Robinson (Georgina's mother) was not overstating the case when she told us that her daughter's life was sacrificed to the inadequate care and treatment provided by mental health policy and practice for the severely mentally disordered people in this country.”

The 200 page report concludes that it was entirely predictable that Andrew Robinson, who has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Georgina Robinson, would attack a young woman unless he was kept on medication and closely supervised. It criticises doctors for failing to listen to repeated warnings from Mr Robinson's parents and friends that he could seem normal for short periods but was frequently confused and violent.

Andrew Robinson was first diagnosed as having paranoid schizophrenia …

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