Information concerning team staffing, keyworker case-loads, and keyworker diagnostic case-mix was collected from six community mental health teams caring for 1651 patients to establish the clinical burden across teams and professions.
Team case-loads varied from 427 to 121, an average of 275 patients. Over half the patients were female, and psychotic disorders constituted 44% of the sample. The most common diagnoses were schizophrenia (28.6%) and depression (23.6%). Keyworker case-loads varied across both teams and professions, averaging 30 patients per full-time equivalent. Psychiatrists' case-loads were the largest. Diagnostic case-mix varied with profession. Community psychiatric nurses had the largest proportion of patients with psychosis (73.8%).
Multi-disciplinary community mental health teams have a shared view of appropriate work distribution. Consultant psychiatrists may underestimate the resources required by patients with non-psychotic disorders even in inner city areas.
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