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Prisoner or Patient - The Challenges within Forensic Health Services

Author(s): Catriona E Neil

Journal: Scottish Universities Medical Journal
ISSN 2049-8454

Volume: 1;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 119;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: forensic psychiatry | medical ethics | prison medicine

Offenders have very high rates of mental health problems with recent estimates suggesting that up to 90% of individuals serving custodial sentences have some form of diagnosable mental health condition. As a group, prisoners and forensic patients have specific healthcare needs that differ from the general population. The challenge for doctors is providing the best care to address complex psychiatric, medical and social needs within a challenging setting. Prisoners are vulnerable members of society and it is the doctor’s duty to make difficult decisions about treatment whilst keeping the patient’s best interests at heart.
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