To investigate liaison psychiatry services across 38 acute trusts in the south of England. We used a telephone survey and compared the results to service structure and function as recommended by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Approximately two-thirds of trusts surveyed had a dedicated liaison service and this was not significantly related to hospital size. Most liaison teams were understaffed in all disciplines and only a third had a full-time consultant. Services for specialist patient groups were generally well provided for; 37% of teams had been created in the past 5 years and 33% were planning to increase their staffing levels in future.
Liaison services in the south of England are similar to those in other parts of the UK that have been surveyed. Although the services did not meet the Colleges' recommendations, our study shows some recent growth and development in this specialty.
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