The UK Government is promoting three types of specialist team in psychiatry: assertive outreach, crisis resolution and early intervention in psychosis. Policy guidance suggests that psychiatrists be recruited to work exclusively within these teams, but little is known about the views of psychiatrists regarding their development. A postal survey was undertaken to seek the views of consultant psychiatrists in the North West.
Seventy per cent of psychiatrists responded to the questionnaire. Equal numbers agreed and disagreed with the development of specialist roles. Few services had been able to recruit to extra consultant sessions within the new teams and only a third of consultants believed the resources so far available to be reasonable. Overall views of the new teams were positive (mean scores 6.36, 6.51 and 6.03 on a 1–10 visual analogue scale for assertive outreach, crisis resolution and early onset psychosis teams). Consultants are particularly likely to believe that the new teams will increase patient satisfaction and provide a welcome change in role for some psychiatrists. A total of 64% of consultants believe that crisis resolution services could reduce hospital admissions, compared with 41% for assertive outreach and 31% for early onset psychosis teams. The concern most often voiced was that new services are being developed at the expense of existing teams.
Consultants perceive benefits associated with the new teams but are concerned about their impact on the rest of the organisation. If resource and recruitment issues can be addressed, consultants could prove to be supportive of these new models of service.
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