An audit was undertaken to assess the efficacy and efficiency of a community-based mental health service which attempts to prioritise the care of those with severe and enduring disorders. Referral patterns over a three month period and change in case-load over the subsequent 12 months were recorded. Seventy-five per cent of new referrals met the priority group criteria, allaying anxieties that community services unceasingly get drawn to the care of those with less severe disorders. Furthermore, at 12 months the service had maintained contact with all patients previously admitted to hospital and all those presenting with psychotic disorders (27% referrals). Some changes in service structure are also suggested as a result of this evaluation.
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