The role of the accident and emergency department in the care of psychiatric patients has been long recognised. Mindham et al (1973) reported that many psychiatric patients, at their first or subsequent contact, present themselves as emergencies, and therefore a suitable service must be provided for them. It is interesting that a large number of reports describe various aspects of one particular service in London, namely the Maudsley Emergency Clinic. Several recent reports describe emergency psychiatric services in different district general hospitals in the United Kingdom.
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