All 208 consultant members of the Faculty for the Psychiatry of Learning Disability were contacted and asked to complete a questionnaire to provide qualitative and quantitative information about their work and experiences.
One hundred and thirty-six consultants responded, giving a 64% response rate. They reported a wide range of clinical, academic and management skills, with 72 having registration in other specialities. Insufficient in-patient provision and problems with discharge were cited by 85% of respondents. There was a wide disparity in the provision of mental health services for children and adolescents with learning disabilities and 12 areas reported no services from any source. Although most respondents showed satisfaction with clinical work and professional relationships, there were many concerns about management, commissioning and planning of services.
Consultant psychiatrists in the field of learning disability are a broadly skilled group of clinicians with a wide range of responsibilities and areas of expertise, but many are working in services that they see as under-resourced and poorly managed, planned and commissioned. Overall levels of satisfaction are good, particularly in relation to clinical work, peer support and study/academic work.
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