Friday 31 December 2010

Liaison Psychiatry

It's stopped.

Bank Holidays must have something to do with it. I can't really fathom it, since that local acute Trust has a massive pressure on beds and is keen as mustard to move patients on.

Yet despite having hundreds of patients within their hospitals who've dementia, delirium and major mental illness, spread over a number of sites, with difficulty in managing and effecting safe discharge for these patients, I've not been swamped by liaison referrals. They've literally hundereds of patients with mental health problems on their wards. Often they find them very very difficult to manage on the ward and to plan discharge for. What with capacity assessments, Best Interest Meetings, Continuing Care needs there's usually process they want support with, before we even get to advice on clinical care.

With pressure on beds you'd expect there's be squillions of referrals to my door, trying to speed up the assessment, diagnosis, management or discharge planning for these patients.

Over 5 consecutive days I had 0 referrals. Not one. We usually have referrals every day. It's utterly unheard of.

Long 4 day Bank Holiday weekends. My fear is that no routine or important work gets done, only urgent/emergency work's attended to. These patients with physical and mental health needs, within the acute Trust, have unusually had no Liaison Psychiatry input in to their care for almost a week. Junior doctors and on-call staff haven't been considering their mental health needs and referring for specialist input.

Bank Holidays seem dangerous. This surely can't be good for patient care . . .

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