If you are experiencing problems downloading PDF or HTML fulltext, our helpdesk recommend clearing your browser cache and trying again. If you need help in clearing your cache, please click here . Still need help? Email help@ingentaconnect.com

What should prompt an urgent referral to a community mental health team?

$29.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Buy Article:


Background: There is often little guidance to advise general practitioners on whether a referral to a community mental health team should be classified as 'urgent' or not.

Aims: (1) To identify the proportion and appropriateness of referrals considered urgent by the referrer; (2) To develop a set of criteria to guide what should constitute an 'urgent' referral. Methods One hundred consecutive referral letters to a community mental health team were analysed to determine the proportion that were considered urgent by the referrer compared to a consensus panel of psychiatrists. A Delphi group was then used to develop a set of criteria to guide referrers as to what should be regarded as an urgent referral.

Results: Thirty-three percent of referrals were deemed urgent by the referrer, compared to 17% by the psychiatric consensus panel, with little agreement between the two (kappa = 0.021, P = 0.013). Referrals that were made using a single assessment process (SAP) form were significantly more likely to be inappropriately marked as being urgent (P < 0.001). A set of 12 criteria was developed using the Delphi technique.

Conclusions: There was significant disagreement between the referrers and the assessing team as to which referrals required urgent attention. The findings justified the creation of guidelines, and this paper outlines a set of 12 criteria to guide what should prompt an urgent referral.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Academic Clinical Fellow, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, St Charles Hospital, London, Woodland Acres, Hascombe Road, Godalming, Surrey, GU8 4AA, UK;, Email: catrionahilton@doctors.org.uk 2: Specialist Registrar in Older Adults Psychiatry and Honorary Clinical Lecturer, Department of Psychological Medicine, Imperial College, St Charles Hospital, London, UK 3: Specialist Registrar in Psychiatry, St Charles Hospital, London, UK 4: Consultant and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Older Adults Psychiatry, St Charles Hospital, London, UK

Publication date: December 1, 2008

More about this publication?
Related content



Share Content

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more