Mental Health Primary Care in Prison
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How the Guide was developed

The World Health Organisation (WHO) developed a state of the art classification of mental disorders for use in clinical practice and research: the 'Tenth Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10). To extend this development into primary care, it published in 1996 the 'Diagnostic and Management Guidelines for Mental Disorders in Primary Care (ICD-10 Chapter V, Primary Care Version). These guidelines were developed by an international group of general practitioners, family physicians, mental-health workers, public health experts, social workers, psychiatrists and psychologists with a special interest in mental-health problems in primary care, using a consensus approach. The WHO guidelines were extensively field-tested in over 40 countries by 500 primary-care physicians to assess their relevance, ease of use and reliability.

These guidelines and other WHO primary-care resources were adapted for the UK by a national editorial team, coordinated by the WHO Collaborating Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry. The evidence base was reviewed, information on psychological therapies added, the views of primary-care nurses, counsellors and patient groups were consulted and the text agreed, following several rounds of consensus and a conference. This UK version 'The WHO Guide to Mental Health in Primary Care' was published in 2000.

This subsequent version for prison staff was developed following a survey of prison healthcare staff about whether a version tailored specifically to their needs would be useful, and if so, what should be in it. This has resulted in a guide covering a considerably broader range of topics and including material specifically written for prison nurses and healthcare officers as well as doctors; and with information sheets for prison officers as well as patients. The process followed was a consensus one similar to that followed for the community primary-care guide. The number and range of different professions and groups involved was larger - a reflection of the complexity of the prison environment. A list of all involved can be found in the Acknowledgements section.

 


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