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Professor George Szmukler

Research interests

Ethical aspects of mental health care (coercion, mental health legislation, advance directives), carers, care planning, clinical governance.

Biographical details

Professor Szmukler is a psychiatrist who has had major research interests in the past in eating disorders and family carers of people suffering from a psychotic illness. His major research now concerns methods of reducing compulsion and ’coercion’ in psychiatric care, for example, through the use of ’advance statements’. A related interest is mental health law, particularly the possibility of generic legislation centred on impaired decision-making capacity which would apply to all persons, regardless of the cause of the underlying disturbance of mental functioning.

Professor Szmukler is also an Associate Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Network - Mental Health division, with lead responsibility for Patient and Public Involvement (PPI). A major aim is to increase the involvement in mental health research of service users and carers as partners in the conduct of research, as well as to engage the interest and support of the general public.

Past posts have included Dean of the Institute of Psychiatry (2001-2006), and Medical Director of the Bethlem and Maudsley NHS Trust (1997-1999) then joint Medical Director of the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (1999-2001). Professor Szmukler was a Visiting Professor in the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics (2005-2014).

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