Psychological Medicine


Community treatment orders: how ethical without experimental evidence?

T. Burnsa1 c1 and J. Dawsona2

a1 University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

a2 University of Otago, New Zealand

Compulsory community treatment orders are a feature of most advanced mental health systems without convincing experimental evidence of benefits. Is it ethical to continue without such evidence? This paper argues that the responsibility for ensuring it is collected lies as much with Parliament as with researchers.

(Received January 02 2009)

(Revised January 16 2009)

(Accepted January 20 2009)

(Online publication March 06 2009)


c1 Address for correspondence: Professor T. Burns, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK. (Email: