BACKGROUND: In many countries, medical authorities are responsible for involuntary admissions of mentally ill patients. Nonetheless, very little is known about GPs' experiences with involuntary admission.
AIM: The aim of the present study was to explore GP's experiences from participating in involuntary admissions.
SETTING: General practice, Aarhus, Denmark.
METHOD: One focus group interview and six individual interviews were conducted with 13 Danish GPs, who had recently sectioned one of their own patients.
RESULTS: GPs experienced stress and found the admission procedure time consuming. They felt that sectioning patients was unpleasant, and felt nervous, but experienced relief and professional satisfaction if things went well. The GPs experienced the doctor-patient relationship to be at risk, but also reported that it could be improved. GPs felt that they were not taken seriously by the psychiatric system.
CONCLUSION: The unpleasant experiences and induced feelings resulting from involuntary admissions reflect an undesirable and stressful working environment.