Writing reports

Consultant psychiatrists are often asked by external agencies to provide written reports on patients for whom they have a current clinical responsibility, and requests may also be received for a report on a patient they have not seen previously. The purpose of these external reports is usually different to that of the usual clinical communications undertaken in the ordinary clinical care of the patient, in that the request is usually for an opinion about one specific issue. These requests frequently involve an opinion on the risk posed to others by the patient's inability to perform certain skills, or by the positive adverse effect of the patient's problems on others. An opinion on the capacity of the patient to understand and competently agree about important issues is also frequently requested.

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