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Free Content Postal survey of services for child and adolescent mental health problems in general practice in England

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Abstract:

Background Child and adolescent mental health (CAMH) problems are prevalent in the community. Primary care has a potentially important role in terms of identification and management of such problems. However, little is known about current services provided for CAMH in primary care, or the nature of the relationship between primary care and specialist services.

Method A postal survey was conducted with general practitioners, using a self-report questionnaire sent to a stratified random sample of 1953 general practices. The questionnaire sought information on the provision of services for CAMH in general practice, the nature of the relationship between general practice and specialist provision, and the determinants of GP satisfaction with specialist services. The overall response rate was 45.5%. Responses were less likely from smaller practices. A sample of non-respondents was followed up by telephone to examine possible biases.

Results Overall, the provision of services for CAMH in general practice was relatively low (5-10%), although there was evidence of liaison with specialist staff in a significant minority of practices. Practice size was associated with prevalence of some services. GP satisfaction with specialist services was associated with shorter waiting times, quality of information and provision of training and education.

Conclusions The study is limited by the poor response rate. The prevalence of services for CAMH in general practice is relatively low, although there is some evidence of liaison with specialists in a significant minority of practices. Developing the potential for primary care involvement in CAMH remains a significant challenge.

Keywords: CHILD AND ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH; INTERSERVICE RELATIONSHIPS; SERVICE PROVISION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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