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Out of mind

British psychiatrists are waiting nervously to find out if the new mental health bill will turn them into jailers rather than doctors

By Robert Drummond   January 2007

Everything about Shona suggested that she was in control of the situation, except for her fat lip. Calmly and rationally, she pleaded with the young psychiatrist to find a way of keeping Joe out of the locked ward. She and Joe were doing well together for the first time, she said. He was looking for work; he was even sharing his dole money with her.

“Ms Wilson,” the psychiatrist replied tensely, “Joe’s on a suspended sentence only because he persuaded the court that he regretted what happened, and that he’s taking his medication. Now he comes in here and tells…

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