To examine the pathways and outcomes of in-patient care in our locality before crisis teams were introduced details of all emergency referrals to psychiatry were recorded and all admissions to hospital were assessed within 24 h of admission and discharge.
Over a 6-month period, 88% (n=1852) of calls to the duty psychiatrist occurred between 09.00 and 01.00 h. Referrals from accident and emergency and general practice represented the majority of calls (80%); 40% of patients were admitted. Highest admission rates were for patients who were psychotic, suicidal or depressed. Admission led to improvement in all symptoms.
In-patient care is a valuable resource for stabilising patients who are acutely ill. Routine monitoring of unscheduled activity can inform service delivery.
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