Do I need a Psychological and Psychiatric report?
It is often helpful to have the additional report and view of another professional from a different mental health discipline (e.g. psychiatry) but it is rarely essential in our experience of court reports and cases, unless specific issues are raised that dictate it e.g. a medication review.
We do come across instances where instructions cut across both professions and in these circumstances two reports are needed. An example of this would be where a solicitor requests a Cognitive (commonly known as IQ) assessment and then an opinion on the client’s Fitness to Plead. In this case, as Psychiatrist are not trained to administer psychometric assessments such as Cognitive tests, a Psychologist would normally conduct the Cognitive assessment first. Once completed then a Psychiatrist would have access to this report as part of their Fitness to Plead assessment, as Fitness to Plead assessments are required to be conducted by professionals who are approved under Section 12(2) of the Mental Health Act 1983 and this does not normally include Psychologists.
There is always considerable duplication and the instructions given to psychiatrists frequently refer to specifically psychological issues which they may or may not be in a position to give an opinion on. The situation is the same with psychologists and giving diagnoses (i.e. of mental health problems, ‘psychological ‘ or ‘psychiatric’ disorders – which are essentially interchangeable as there is no meaningful distinction in the diagnostic manuals or in general) – some psychologists can give formal diagnoses (according to their training and experience) and some cannot.