Assessment of clinical risk in mental health services – 2018 (2/2)

Assessment of clinical risk in mental health services – 2018 (2/2)


So, what do our findings mean? I think they reinforce the notion that risk
assessment isn’t about risk prediction. Risk isn’t a number, it isn’t a rating
on a traffic light system – red, amber or green. And risk assessment tools, I think it’s
clear, don’t have very much of role on their own in the assessment of people who present
with suicidal thoughts or behaviours. If they are going to be used, they need to
be simple, they need to be accessible and they need to be consistent. So instead of focusing solely on risk assessment,
what services should be focusing on is the individual relationship between the clinician
and the service user, gathering appropriate information, and developing a management plan
– relying on clinical judgement as appropriate. Training’s obviously an issue, providing
appropriate training for staff, involving carers, involving families, involving service
users themselves in a collaborative process of assessment is very important. And it’s about individualised assessment
that’s absolutely right leading to a management plan that’s appropriate, but we should also
be seeing risk assessment as part of a wider system of mental health care.

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