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Change and Continuity in Psychiatry: One Woman’s Reflections 

Change and Continuity in Psychiatry: One Woman’s Reflections
Change and Continuity in Psychiatry: One Woman’s Reflections

Claire Murdoch

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date: 28 January 2022

This chapter offers a recollection of training and working as a nurse in Friern Barnet Hospital during the 1980s. As the era of the Victorian asylum drew to a close, the possibility of new and improved approaches to mental health provision loomed. Murdoch offers a personal account of working within and challenging the status quo. She describes prevailing policy and practice and a sense of the struggle to usher in the new while respecting and learning from the old. She offers insights into the contradictory permissiveness of the day, and the tolerance and celebration of eccentric and endearing aspects of life in the asylum. Murdoch conveys how much has changed and points to constant features in the search for effective, humane treatments over the three decades. Stigma, funding, freedom, responsibility, and structures to support care in the community all remain constants.

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