It is usual to open a paper with a historical survey of the subject under review. In a sense that is an academic approach. This paper, however, deals with the purely utilitarian aspect of psychiatric out-patient clinics; and a historical survey would only be in place if it were to give us practical suggestions, likely to prove of value in present circumstances. Up to the present time most of the literature of this subject has been in the shape of formal annual reports. A notable exception to this general statement was the paper on “The Oxford Clinic,” communicated by Dr. Good at the Annual Meeting of this Association in 1921. That paper was not only an account of the general method of working a clinic, but was a concise description of how psychiatric out-patients should be handled. It was followed in 1922 by a paper by Dr. Ninian Bruce, dealing more particularly with Ministry of Pensions Clinics, and expressing the view that the methods employed there could be satisfactorily adapted for civilian patients. It is interesting to note that Dr. Ninian Bruce used the future tense in describing the utility of these clinics, and that practically all of his forecasts either have come, or are coming, true. The methods described by these writers have been widely used in many clinics in the ten years which have since passed; various practical points have cropped up; legislation has been changed; and a review of the utility of the psychiatric out-patient clinic in the light of these things is the aim of the present paper.
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