Early intervention in psychosis services serving the 14–35 age range often receive input from psychiatrists from both child and adolescent as well as adult mental health services. Differences in staff attitudes or practices could potentially affect the experience of care that an individual with first-episode psychosis receives on the basis of their age. In order to investigate such potential variation a questionnaire-based survey was conducted targeting the relevant psychiatrists working in a large mental health trust in north-east England.
Only subtle differences in attitudes between the two staff groups were noted. However, a number of significant differences in prescribing preferences were reported.
Attitudes towards first-episode psychosis show marked variation between psychiatrists but may not be especially associated with sub-specialty. Further national guidance should be drawn up, disseminated and implemented to help ensure that service users across the age range receive the safest and most effective medications for an episode of psychotic illness, regardless of age.
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