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Knowledge of Patients’ Voting Rights Amongst Mental Health Professionals Working in The London Borough of Westminster During The 2015 Uk General Election

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 March 2020

T. MacLaren*
Affiliation:
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, General Adult and Old Age Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom Imperial College London, Faculty of Medicine, London, United Kingdom
J. Townell
Affiliation:
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, General Adult Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom
S. Shanmugham
Affiliation:
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, General Adult Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom
V. Argent
Affiliation:
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, General Adult Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom
L. De Ridder
Affiliation:
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom
A. Venkataraman
Affiliation:
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, General Adult Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom
M. Clarke
Affiliation:
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, General Adult Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom
M. Khwaja
Affiliation:
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, General Adult Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom
*
*Corresponding author.
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Abstract

Introduction

Being able to participate in elections and to vote are important components of social inclusion; empowering people with mental illness to have a voice.

It is important that mental health professionals understand the voting rights of adults with mental illness in order to be able to provide appropriate advice and support.

Objectives

To explore knowledge of the voting rights of adults living with mental illness amongst mental health professionals working in both community and inpatient settings in Westminster, London.

Aims

To understand the level of knowledge amongst mental health professionals regarding the voting rights of patients with mental illness in order to identify unmet training needs.

Methods

A survey, in the form of a staff quiz was undertaken in all community and inpatient teams prior to the May 2015 general election. All multidisciplinary team members were included.

Results

in total, 211 surveys were completed. Ninety-eight percent of staff correctly identified that being a psychiatric inpatient does not change an individual's right to vote. Less than 50% of the staff members demonstrated correct understanding of the rights of patients detained under forensic sections, and the rights of the homeless to vote.

Conclusions

It is encouraging that knowledge of voting rights amongst staff appeared higher in our survey than in some published surveys. However, despite the development of a Trust Voting Rights Policy and Educational Film prior to the 2015 general election further staff education, particularly the rights of those detained under forensic sections or who are homeless, is required.

Disclosure of interest

The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.

Type
EV652
Copyright
Copyright © European Psychiatric Association 2016

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