Published: 06/02/2003, Volume II3, No. 5841 Page 6

Doctors and social workers would face a 27 per cent average increase in their workload if the proposals in the draft mental health bill is implemented, according to an audit.A paper submitted to the Royal College of Psychiatrists examined medical notes of 54 patients detained under the current mental health act by Oxfordshire Mental Health trust, and then estimated what treatment would have been required had a new act, based on the draft bill, been in force. It found that social workers would spend 129 hours a year each (a 30 per cent increase) complying with the new act. Independent doctors, who would be required to give a second opinion under the act, would face a 207 per cent increase in their workload.

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