Over nine months, 57 consecutive newly referred and previous out-patient attenders to two community psychiatric out-patient clinics located in a deprived inner city area of London were interviewed to elicit demographic information, psychiatric details and obtain their views about their preferred location for the out-patient clinic. The majority (94%) preferred a community out-patient setting to a hospital out-patient clinic, with 76% preferring a community out-patient setting to a home assessment. The overall attendance rate was 89%. A 10% higher rate of attendance was found at the community mental health centre compared with the general practice and 15% higher rate for new referrals. Patients preferred to attend a psychiatric out-patient clinic based in the community. This suggests that introducing community-based psychiatric clinics would make a substantial improvement on the current high rates of non-attendance at hospital psychiatric out-patient clinics.
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