Guidelines, process and ethics with the New Zealand Mental Health (compulsory assessment and treatment) Act: striking a balance

Gale, Christopher; Mullen, Richard; Shue, Lily
January 2007
BMC Psychiatry;2007 Supplement 1, Vol. 7, Special section p1
Academic Journal
The New Zealand Mental Health (compulsory assessment and treatment) act was amended to mandate the consultation of family and care-givers in every stage of civil committal. Although the use of committal has been seen by clinicians as an impediment to care and clinicians continue to have concerns about the timing of discharge from the act, many people with serious mental illness have experienced the act as beneficial. A recent review of the regulations has increased the length and detail of the reports clinicians have to provide to the court. This, combined with a clear directive that an advocate who is not part of the clinical care process must be present during the clinical interview to commence committal, may be causing a conflict between the provision of care in a timely manner when patients are at risk and complying with the requirements of the court.


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