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© 2016 The Author(s). Background: Randomised studies consistently show that Community Treatment Orders (CTOs) do not have the intended effect of preventing relapse and readmissions of patients with severe and enduring mental illness. Critics suggest this in part can be explained by RCTs studying newly introduced CTO regimes and that patients therefore were not brought back to hospital for short-term observations ('recall') as frequently as intended. Our purpose was (i) to test the hypothesis that CTO practice as regards recall of patients to hospital in England and Wales was as rigorous under the OCTET trial period as in current routine use and (ii) to investigate the reasons for and outcomes of recalls and whether this changed over time. Method: Thirty six-month observational prospective study of 198 patients in the OCTET Follow-up Study. Results: Forty percent of patients were recalled, 19 % more than once. This is in line with current national use. Deterioration in clinical condition was the most common reason for recalls (49 %), and 68 % of recalls resulted in revocation of the order (i.e., retention in hospital under compulsion). This pattern remained stable over time. Conclusion: The use of recall cannot explain why RCTs have not confirmed any benefits from CTOs, and their continued use should be reconsidered. Trial registration: The OCTET Trial was retrospectively registered on 12 November 2009 (ISRCTN73110773)

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Psychiatry

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