Close links have developed between the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of Verona – a town in North-East Italy – and the Maudsley Hospital in South London. Reciprocal visits, exchanges and cooperation in clinical practice and research have led to interesting experiences and comparisons between the different cultural settings and mental health services. In 1993, one of us (MP) visited the South Verona Psychiatric Service for two weeks, and a year later VP spent six months attached to the South Camberwell Community Team and at PRISM (Psychiatric Research in Service Measurement), a research team at the Institute of Psychiatry. This paper records our impressions and observations during these visits. The two services are not representative of all services in the respective countries but the visits did give us the opportunity to consider details not revealed by formal comparative research studies.
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