This paper reports on the results of a qualitative study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) looking at multidisciplinary team decisions to admit sentenced offenders with antisocial personality disorder to a medium secure unit. The aim of the study was to examine admission decision-making from a multidisciplinary perspective, and to explore the interprofessional dynamics and contextual pressures informing those decisions. The primary method of data collection was 12 semi-structured interviews with a convenience sample of various multidisciplinary staff involved in pre-admission assessment and post-assessment decision-making. Data was then coded according to the dialectic of competitive and cooperative goal seeking within groups. The findings suggest that, whilst both forms of goal seeking inform admission decisions, the presence of significant resource pressures will lead to decisional solidarity among the multidisciplinary team. When minor professional disagreements arise, they are resolved by the group leader, the Responsible Clinician, in order to maximise group productivity. It is argued that the discursive-limiting effect of resource pressures on group decision-making may weaken the morale of certain front line staff, if not undermine institutional purpose.
- medium secure unit
- antisocial personality disorder
- responsible clinician