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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

CR134. Safety for Psychiatrists


Price: £5.00

Approved: Oct 2005

Published: Jan 2006

Status: under review

Number of pages: 32

Review by: 2010

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Despite many investigations and inquiries into violent incidents in mental health settings, safety considerations for mental health staff continues to be an issue of serious concern.
 
Aggression and violence are often preventable. This relies heavily on the awareness and skills of mental health clinicians working in organizations that are supportive and that help professionals to develop practical skills in a safe physical environment. However, there are still serious gaps.
 
This report augments Safety for Trainees in Psychiatry (CR78 - now withdrawn), published in 1999. The scope of the report has been broadened to include all practising psychiatrists. The Working Party has reviewed the safety literature published since the last report, and consulted widely with other organizations which have similar concerns.
 
The report focuses on those measures which can reduce the chances of assaults taking place, or of serious injury being sustained should it occur. Trusts and other employing organisations already have statutory obligations to ensure that the environment in which mental health professionals work is safe and secure, and this report does not dwell in this area, other than to point out where psychiatrists still notice deficiencies.
 
Brief vignettes exemplify situations which are likely to give rise to safety considerations in various settings, and advice is given on prevention and ways to reduce escalation of risk.
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