Intended for healthcare professionals


Public policy and mental health legislation should be reconsidered

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 15 May 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1354
  1. Frank Holloway, Consultant psychiatrist (,
  2. George Szmukler, Medical director
  1. Bethlem and Maudsley NHS Trust, Maudsley Hospital, London SE5 8AZ

EDITOR—Eastman's discussion of the Fallon inquiry into the personality disorder unit at Ashworth high security hospital identifies the dangers for psychiatric practice inherent in public policy in the United Kingdom.1 We have proposed that mental health legislation should be viewed in a radically new light, separating interventions aimed at treating people in their own best interests who (because of mental incapacity) are unable to take treatment decisions for themselves from interventions aimed at promoting the safety of the public. …

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