Over the past decade, old age liaison psychiatry services have been developing across the UK. The driving force behind this has been the recognition of the inequity in service provision for people over the age of 65 with mental health problems in a general hospital setting. A postal survey of consultants in old age psychiatry in April 2002 showed that most respondents (71%) considered that the service they provided to older people in general hospitals was poor and needed to be improved (Holmes et al, 2002). Much work has been done to highlight this issue, and liaison psychiatry for older adults is gaining prominence. The national conference on liaison psychiatry for older people, which has been held in Leeds for the past 4 years, attracts large numbers of enthusiastic participants. The Department of Health (2006) document A New Ambition for Old Age specifically mentions the current poor standard of care that older people with mental health problems receive in a general hospital setting. The Royal College of Psychiatrists (2005) has produced guidelines for the development of liaison mental health services for older people.
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