Scant consideration has been given to the ethical implications of the policy of closing down psychiatric hospitals in favour of community care. The recent adherents of this policy in government have been enthusiastic in encouraging its implementation. This paper has three sections: a brief resumé of the history and principles of community care for the mentally ill; a discussion on the merits and de-merits of psychiatric care in the hospital and in the community; and an outline of some preliminary categories for ethical analysis.
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