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One-off assessments within a community mental health team

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Aims and method: We conducted a postal survey to describe the reactions of service users and their general practitioners (GPs) when service users were referred to a community mental health team (CMHT) but not taken on by the service. Routinely collected data were used to describe the diagnostic and demographic characteristics of this group.

Results: During a 10-month period the team received 325 referrals, of which 80 (25%) were assessed but not taken on for further treatment. Those with psychotic illness were most likely to be taken on, and those with substance-related problems were least likely to be offered treatment by the CMHT. The majority of respondents, both GPs and service users, found the assessment to be beneficial and were not dissatisfied at not having been taken on for further treatment by the CMHT.

Clinical implications: Our positive findings regarding the usefulness of one-off assessments suggest that despite the substantial amount of clinical time devoted to this, it may be time well spent. However, potential gaps at the interface between primary and secondary mental health care have also been highlighted.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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