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In the mid-1950s in Scotland a young, highly intelligent woman of impeccable character who was severely depressed following recent childbirth tragically fell prey to infanticide.

She was charged but proceedings were immediately discontinued when the authorities were informed that she had been admitted for treatment.

A senior clinician newly 
arrived from England justly 
described the decision as “very enlightened”.

Now, in the ensuing century, we read (your report, 13 August) of a mother in precisely the same situation who will, in the full blaze of publicity rather than being protected by patient confidentiality, be detained for a period of three years, a proportion of which, given a good response to treatment, will be served in prison.

Is this progress?

Gerald McGovern

Gilmour Road

Edinburgh

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