An audit project was carried out in a mental health trust in North-West London on two successive years to determine the average case-load size of defined severe mental illness for each professional discipline.
The average case-load for non-consultants varied from 16 (for occupational therapists) through to 98 patients (for senior house officers). Community psychiatric nurses had an average case-load of 21 and consultants had an estimated average case-load of between 185 and 317 patients. The proportion of patients with severe mental illness ranged from 49% to 67%.
The case-loads of consultants in community health teams are too large to exercise the statutory duties of a responsible medical officer and, therefore, need revision.
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