UK mental healh services have been distinguished by their continuity of care but recently there has been a move to separating consultant responsibility for in-patient and out-patient care. Local examples of the success of this approach have been published but there has been remarkably little careful thought about its longer-term impacts. International comparisons would suggest that there are significant potential disadvantages, including increased bed pressures. Some disadvantages, such as the poor fit with the Mental Health Act and patient dissatisfaction with structural discontinuity are already obvious. A more considered debate is called for.
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