Objectives: This study aims to assess the rate of six monthly communications between specialised psychiatric services and primary care and to determine factors which predict such communication.
Methods: A retrospective review of the clinical records of all patients attending the relevant local psychiatric outpatient clinic was carried out by all members of the multidisciplinary team to identify patient demographic and clinical variables as well as to determine if there has been documentation of communication with primary care in the preceding six months. Letters were sent to the relevant primary care teams regarding progress on their patients in cases where it was identified that no communication had occurred in the preceding six months.
Results: A total of 145 patients' charts were reviewed. Of these, 53.3% of the patients were females and 46.7% were males. The mean age was 47.9 years (SD = 14). Patients' diagnoses included; depression (41%), bipolar affective disorder (6.7%), schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder (27.6%), anxiety disorders (6.7%), alcohol dependency syndrome (11%) and other disorders (7%). Overall, only 36% of patients' charts had a record of communication with primary care in the last six months. Only one variable, ‘changes made to the patents medication in the last six months’ was significantly associated with the likelihood that there had been communication with primary care with an odds ratio of 15 and a p-value of 0.00.
Conclusion: A six monthly review has a potential to improve the level of communication between specialised psychiatric services and primary care.