The aim of the study was to describe community mental health teams (CMHTs) working In Scotland. Interviews, a focus group, and a postal questionnaire survey of Identified CMHTs were carried out.
Of the 53 teams identified, 42 (79%) completed questionnaires. The average team size was 11 people. Community psychiatric nurses were in all teams, social workers and psychiatrists were in most, but psychologists were in only half. Needs assessments occurred in only 17% of teams. Fifty-one per cent of teams had open referral systems, and 38% of referrals comprised people with long-term mental health problems. Fifteen per cent of referrals were considered by teams to be inappropriate.
Ambiguities about appropriate structures, patient groups and interprofessional and inter-agency working require further consideration and evaluation if CMHT care is to be optimally effective.
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