Violence may be predicted among psychiatric patients

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 10 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:318

Research findings showing that it may be possible to predict which psychiatric patients will turn violent after release into the community are emerging from a nine year, £4.5m ($6.8m) study in the United States.

The results could help to target patients who need residential care in the small units planned by the health secretary, Stephen Dorrell. His plans are due to be outlined in a white paper this autumn. At present, psychiatrists' success rate in predicting violence is little better than chance.

The study coincides with a series of high profile killings on both sides of the Atlantic by patients released from acute psychiatric hospitals. A report by Camden and Islington Health Authority, in London, is expected next month into the case of Martin Mursell, …

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