Intended for healthcare professionals


Only about 1 in 30 predictions of assault by discharged psychiatric patients will be correct

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 06 November 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1270
  1. Tom Palmstierna (
  1. Centre for Dependency Disorders, St Göran's Hospital, PO Box 125 60, S-102 29 Stockholm, Sweden

    EDITOR—The debate about the dangerousness of discharged psychiatric patients is interesting. 1 2 In public debate (and sometimes also among professionals) it is often claimed that discharged patients are responsible for a substantial number of violent assaults in society. This is sometimes held as a reason for more custodial, institutionalised treatment.

    In 1987 Wistedt and I studied the possibility of using a prediction of the likelihood of violence, assessed at discharge from involuntary psychiatric care, as a means of reducing rates …

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