What happens afterwards? A follow-up study of those diverted from custody to hospital in the first 2.5 years of a metropolitan diversion scheme
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Background Court-based psychiatric services aim to identify mentally disordered defendants who require help from Mental Health Services, and attempt to arrange the necessary diversion into health care. This study followed individuals through their hospital stay to assess whether the psychiatric facility to which the individual was transferred was able to manage them, assessed whether the individual benefited from diversion into hospital, and examined how and when the individuals were discharged into the community. Method All those diverted from custody to hospital in the first 2.5 years of a metropolitan diversion scheme were followed through their hospital stay for at least 18 months. Results Fifty five people were diverted into hospital, from a total of 180 referrals to the court diversion scheme, In excess of 80 per cent were suffering from some form of psychotic disorder. This group had committed relatively serious offences. If appropriately assessed, and appropriate hospital placements are arranged, successful outcome can be achieved for the majority of people diverted from custody to hospital, in terms of improved mental states and a planned discharge. Conclusions The services provided by general psychiatric services are able to meet the needs of this group.