To introduce a monthly screening clinic for new patients referred to the community mental health team with less severe mental health problems.
Sixty patients were selected for screening in the first year. Their non-attendance rate of 48% was more than double the rate for all new patients. We did not diagnose severe mental illness in any patients on first assessment or during the 6 months of follow-up.
Patients referred from general practice with minor psychiatric morbidity may have particularly high rates of non-attendance. The brief screening clinic model offered us considerable savings in consulting time. The outcome for our service is shorter waiting times for patients with more severe mental health problems.
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