To determine knowledge, skills and confidence of junior medical emergency department staff in managing mental health patients. Over a 2-year period new emergency department junior doctors were given a questionnaire to complete early on in their post and prior to any mental health training. The questionnaire asked about knowledge, confidence, concerns and skills in the management of mental health patients in accident and emergency services.
More than half of the 32 doctors surveyed said they lacked knowledge, skills and confidence when assessing mental health patients.
The survey has demonstrated a need for mental health training of new doctors working in the emergency department. Effective training for such doctors can be offered by a liaison psychiatry service. This should be embedded in their teaching programme and be continually responsive to their perceived training needs.
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