Objectives: The recently published RANZCP guidelines for schizophrenia and related disorders reviewed recent scientific evidence, and, where lacking, referred to clinical expertise to supply a template for raising the standard of care. This paper builds on the guidelines and recommends how they might be used to improve outcomes. Methods: The guidelines call for evidence-based mental health policies, inclusive of mobilising affected families, communities and the public in support of policies that ensure better care and protect the wellbeing of people with severe mental disorders. The process of preparing the guidelines highlighted the limits of our scientific understanding of schizophrenia and shortcomings in the care currently provided. Results: Writing the guidelines evinced the need for a culture of measuring outcomes and response to treatment, and harnessing such data to monitoring and optimising patient care. Conclusions: We recommend creation of a national case cohort for mental health research involving a collaborative network of clinical research centres, using the guidelines and generating scientific evidence for translation into clinical practice protocols that enable personalised treatment plans for patients and criteria for the performance of clinical services.
- standard of care
- treatment outcomes