Attitudes of psychiatrists towards forensic psychiatry: a survey

Med Sci Law. 2007 Jul;47(3):220-4. doi: 10.1258/rsmmsl.47.3.220.


Forensic psychiatry has been rapidly expanding in recent years and more NHS forensic beds are planned. This study aimed to examine the attitudes of psychiatrists towards forensic psychiatry. A questionnaire was given to psychiatrists attending a regional Royal College of Psychiatrists conference. In addition forensic psychiatrists were surveyed in the two local regional secure units. Ninety-eight psychiatrists, including twenty-four forensic psychiatrists, completed the questionnaire. Forensic and non-forensic psychiatrists tended to agree with the expansion in forensic beds. Non-forensic psychiatrists wanted a lower threshold for admission to secure units. Forensic psychiatrists disagreed. Non-forensic psychiatrists tended to feel that forensic psychiatry has been over-funded compared with other psychiatric services. They also commented that forensic services should integrate more closely with other non-secure psychiatric services and should offer more community forensic services rather than concentrating care on in-patients. Forensic services should consider what services they provide and try to meet the desires of secondary services, such as more community forensic services and greater integration with other psychiatric services.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Data Collection
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Humans
  • Psychiatry*
  • State Medicine
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom