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Discharging mental health patients on community treatment orders after they have been involuntarily hospitalised may require them to be on long periods of compulsory treatment without any benefit for the patient, a new study has found.

Community Treatment Orders (CTOs) have been controversial since their introduction in the UK in 2008. An Oxford University study has now found they do not alter the likelihood of patients being hospitalised again, compared with an older and less restrictive type of supervised discharge called Section 17 leave.

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