This two part study examined the written communication between psychiatrists and other hospital doctors. In the first part a set of sample letters from a psychiatrist, who had seen a ward referral, was sent to 110 physicians and surgeons. Nearly half expressed a preference for a psychiatrist's letter that was one page long with main points underlined. Clarity of psychiatric diagnosis and opinion and clear treatment/follow-up arrangements were the key items of content. In the second part 100 consecutive referral letters and their replies were assessed; 20% of referral letters did not express the precise reason why psychiatric opinion was sought and many of the psychiatrists' replies did not describe adequately the follow-up arrangements and prognosis. In general the psychiatrist found the referral letters short and lacking in information whereas referring doctors found the brief replies from the psychiatrists preferable because the brief letters contained the key items mentioned in the first part of the study. In addition to these recommendations regarding written communications, this study emphasizes the need for personal discussion between psychiatrists and other hospital doctors; nearly half the doctors in the first part of the study thought this would be essential for good management of the patient.
A program of case-centred seminars in psychiatry designed for general practitioners was begun in Ontario during 1965. It came into being as the result of the cooperative endeavour of the Ontario Chapter, College of General Practice, the Ontario Psychiatric Association and the Division of Postgraduate Medicine, University of Toronto. The program was conducted on a regional rather than on a centralized basis. No general practitioner had to travel more than 30 miles to his seminar, thus ensuring regular weekly attendance for an average of 12 weeks. The Ontario Chapter recruited the general practitioners, the Psychiatric Association selected appropriate regional psychiatrists, and the University gave a brief preliminary course for these psychiatrists. Nineteen separate groups were formed in 13 different Ontario cities, with an average total weekly attendance of 120. A review conference of participating psychiatrists and general practitioners, held in November 1965, developed plans for renewal and extension of the program for 1966. This approach seems especially appropriate for large geographic regions with scattered populations.
General practitioners and psychiatrists communicate mainly by letter. To ascertain the most important items of information that should be included in these letters ("key items") questionnaires were sent to 80 general practitioners and 80 psychiatrists. A total of 120 referral letters sent to psychiatric clinics in 1973 and 1983 were studied, together with the psychiatrists' replies, and these were rated for the inclusion of "key items." General practitioners' letters contain less information about the family but more about psychiatric history than they did a decade ago. Overall, psychiatrists' letters have not changed. Registrars, however, now include noticeably more "key items" than they did 10 years ago, but their letters remain twice the length of those written by consultants. It is suggested that letter writing skills are vital to good patient management and should be taught to postgraduate trainees in general practice and psychiatry.
OBJECTIVE--To investigate the effects on general practitioners' activities of a change in their remuneration from a capitation based system to a mixed fee per item and capitation based system. DESIGN--Follow up study with data collected from contact sheets completed by general practitioners in one period before (March 1987) a change in their remuneration system and two periods after (March 1988, November 1988), with a control group of general practitioners with a mixed fee per item and capitation based system throughout. SETTING--General practices in Copenhagen city (index group) and Copenhagen county (control group). SUBJECTS--265 General practitioners in Copenhagen city, of whom 100 were selected randomly from the 130 who agreed to participate (10 exclusions) and 326 general practitioners in Copenhagen county. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Number of consultations (face to face and by telephone) and renewals of prescriptions, diagnostic and curative services, and specialist and hospital referrals per 1000 enlisted patients in one week. RESULTS--Of the 75 general practitioners who completed all three sheets, four were excluded for incomplete data. Total contact rates per 1000 patients listed rose significantly compared with the rates before the change index in the city (100.0 before the change v 111.7 (95% confidence interval 106.4 to 117.4 after the change) and over the same time in the control group (100.0 v 106.0), but within a year these rates fell (to 104.2(99.1 to 109.6) and 104.0 respectively). There was an increase in consultations by telephone initially but not thereafter. Rates of examinations and treatments that attracted specific additional remuneration after the change rose significantly compared with those before (diagnostic services, 138.1 (118.7 to 160.5) and 159.5 (137.8 to 184.7) and curative services 194.6 (152.2 to 248.9) and 194.8(152.3 to 249.2) for second and third data collections respectively) and with the control group (diagnostic services 105.3, 107.6 and curative services 106.0, 115.0) whereas referral rates to secondary care fell (specialist referrals 90.1 (80.7 to 100.6) and 77.0 (68.6 to 86.4) and hospital referrals 87.4 (71.1 to 107.5) and 68.4 (54.7 to 85.4] in doctors in the city. CONCLUSIONS--Introducing a partial fee for service system seemed to stimulate the provision of services by general practitioners, resulting in reduced referral rates. The concept of a "target income" which doctors aim at, rather than maximising their income seemed to play a part in adjustment to changing the system of remuneration.
In an attempt to assess some of the reactions of psychiatric outpatients attending a teaching clinic, a group of patients who received a letter warning them of the possible presence of students were compared with a group who did not receive such a letter. The “letter” group were generally more satisfied with their interview and were less likely to say that they had consciously withheld information. Greater satisfaction was also expressed by patients over 35.
When asked whether they preferred to see one student in private and then the psychiatrist with a small group of other students, or to have the whole interview conducted by the psychiatrist in front of the group, patients expressed a clear preference for the former choice. This former method may also allow more responsible and active participation by the students.
In Ontario, psychiatric care is fully covered by provincial health insurance without co-payments or deductibles. The provincial fee schedule supports a “gatekeeper” system for psychiatric care by paying psychiatrists more for consultations with patients who have a physician referral. In this context, we sought to explore socio-economic differences in patterns of mental health service delivery.
We employed a retrospective cohort design using administrative and census data from 1995 to 2004. Subjects were 1,448,820 adults in Toronto with no physician mental healthcare in the previous three years. We determined time-dependent differences by sex and neighbourhood education quintile for the time to first mental health visit, time to the first mental health visit with a family physician or general practitioner (FP/GP), referral time from the FP/GP to a psychiatrist and the time to the first mental health visit with a psychiatrist.
Relative to the lowest neighbourhood education group, individuals in the highest neighbourhood education groups were less likely, and took longer, to have a first visit to a FP/GP, but once seen were more likely, and took less time, to be referred to a psychiatrist. The highest education group was more than twice as likely to see a psychiatrist without a FP/GP referral and took less time to do so than the lowest education group.
The patterns of care we found suggest three major conclusions: (1) that a significant portion of psychiatric service users in our setting bypass the gatekeeper function of the FP/GP; (2) that social inequities are particularly marked when the gatekeeper role of the FP/GP is bypassed; and (3) that even within the gatekeeper system there is evidence of inequity in referral patterns and referral times. New models of mental healthcare delivery or adjustment of the current model may be needed to redress these disparities.
In 1979 the opinions of Ontario psychiatrists were sought regarding the influence of the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) on the practice of their specialty. Full replies to a 44-item questionnaire were received from more than half the certified psychiatrists in Ontario, half of whom had been in practice before the introduction of OHIP. Both satisfaction and uneasiness were expressed about most aspects of health insurance. Many of the 416 psychiatrists stated that OHIP had improved access to psychiatric care, providing a more socially diverse practice, especially with respect to psychotherapy. Only one quarter believed that OHIP constituted a major intrusion on the doctor-patient relationship, and the majority reported that OHIP had been beneficial to themselves as psychiatrists (70%) and to their patients (86%). Almost half reported having raised their concern about the confidentiality of OHIP records with their patients; the patients less often brought up the issue. Although most psychiatrists in practice before the introduction of OHIP reported no change in their conduct of psychotherapy, a minority reported a decrease in the duration of treatment and an increase in the frequency of missed appointments. Also noted was an increase in the number of referrals for consultation, which led at times to overutilization of these specialists' services.
This paper compares two versions of the diminished responsibility defence, which reduces murder to manslaughter: the present statutory formulation and a proposed reformulation. The comparison confirms that evidence such as psychiatrists are commonly invited to give in murder cases takes them beyond their proper role. Paradoxically, although the two formulations mean essentially the same thing, the proposed change of wording must have the practical effect of subduing the psychiatrist's evidence. This conclusion leads to speculation about why psychiatrists are at present allowed so large a function in diminished responsibility cases and to some general observations about the role of the expert in relation to those of judge and jury.
The compulsory treatment of anorexia nervosa is a contentious issue. Research suggests that psychiatrists have a range of attitudes towards patients suffering from anorexia nervosa, and towards the use of compulsory treatment for the disorder.
A postal self-completed attitudinal questionnaire was sent to senior psychiatrists in the United Kingdom who were mostly general adult psychiatrists, child and adolescent psychiatrists, or psychiatrists with an interest in eating disorders.
Respondents generally supported a role for compulsory measures under mental health legislation in the treatment of patients with anorexia nervosa. Compared to 'mild' anorexia nervosa, respondents generally were less likely to feel that patients with 'severe' anorexia nervosa were intentionally engaging in weight loss behaviours, were able to control their behaviours, wanted to get better, or were able to reason properly. However, eating disorder specialists were less likely than other psychiatrists to think that patients with 'mild' anorexia nervosa were choosing to engage in their behaviours or able to control their behaviours. Child and adolescent psychiatrists were more likely to have a positive view of the use of parental consent and compulsory treatment for an adolescent with anorexia nervosa. Three factors emerged from factor analysis of the responses named: 'Support for the powers of the Mental Health Act to protect from harm'; 'Primacy of best interests'; and 'Autonomy viewed as being preserved in anorexia nervosa'. Different scores on these factor scales were given in terms of type of specialist and gender.
In general, senior psychiatrists tend to support the use of compulsory treatment to protect the health of patients at risk and also to protect the welfare of patients in their best interests. In particular, eating disorder specialists tend to support the compulsory treatment of patients with anorexia nervosa independently of views about their decision-making capacity, while child and adolescent psychiatrists tend to support the treatment of patients with anorexia nervosa in their best interests where decision-making is impaired.
Psychiatry has not been a preferred medical specialty for women in the Indian subcontinent unlike in the Western countries like USA, Canada or UK. Recent years have seen an increase in the number of women doctors in India choosing psychiatry as career.
Materials and Methods:
Information on women in psychiatry in the Indian subcontinent was collected using resources like PubMed, directories of the professional societies, websites of medical institues, souvenirs and scientific programme of various conferences and personal communication with psychiatrists, and the data about postgraduate trainees available with the authors' own institute.
Women psychiatrists constitute about 15% of total psychiatrists in India, out of whom only 10% are at a relatively senior level, and the most are young. The women psychiatrists are also in faculty positions in a number of medical schools and have held important positions in the Indian Psychiatric Society at different times.
Most of the women psychiatrists appear to be still at junior levels, having joined the profession relatively recently as compared to their male counterparts. The trend at increasing number of women psychiatrists in the Indian subcontinent is similar to the worldwide trends.
Women; psychiatry; Indian subcontinent
Most psychiatrists who visit health centres use the shifted outpatient clinic model, the main aim of which is to improve secondary care by providing it in the primary care setting. For five years we have employed a liaison-attachment scheme in which support and advice from the psychiatrist enables general practitioners to improve their care of patients with psychiatric and psychological problems. One of the advantages of the latter model is that the psychiatrist can contribute to the care of patients not seen by the specialist psychiatric service and also to the development of the primary care team. The scheme is cost effective as psychiatrists can advise on the care of far more patients than they could see in formal referrals, fewer patients are taken on for a course of psychiatric treatment that could be provided by general practitioners and the skills of general practitioners and their trainees are enhanced. It is hoped that more general practitioners will adopt this pattern of working so that it can be fully developed and evaluated.
Major depression is a frequent and serious disorder in older medical inpatients. Because the condition goes undetected and untreated in most of these patients, we conducted a randomized clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a strategy of systematic detection and multidisciplinary treatment of depression in this population.
Consecutive patients aged 65 years or more admitted to general medical services in a primary care hospital between October 1999 and November 2002 were screened for depression with the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS) within 48 hours after admission. Patients found to have major depression were randomly allocated to receive the intervention or usual care. The intervention involved consultation and treatment by a psychiatrist and follow-up by a research nurse and the patient's family physician. Research assistants, blind to group allocation, collected data from the patients at enrolment and at 3 and 6 months later using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD), the Medical Outcomes 36-item Short Form (SF-36), the DIS, the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), the Older Americans Resources and Services (OARS) questionnaire to assess basic and instrumental activities of daily living (OARS-ADL and OARS-IADL) and the Rating Scale for Side Effects. Data on the severity of illness, length of hospital stay, health services and medication use, mortality and process of care were also collected. The primary outcome measures were the HAMD and SF-36.
Of 1500 eligible patients who were screened, 157 were found to have major depression and consented to participate (78 in the intervention group and 79 in the usual care group). At randomization, there were no clinically or statistically significant differences between the 2 groups. Sixty-four patients completed follow-up to 6 months, 57 withdrew, and 36 died. At 6 months, there were no clinically or statistically significant differences the 2 groups in HAMD or SF-36 scores or any of the secondary outcome measures.
We were unable to demonstrate that systematic detection and multidisciplinary care of depression was more beneficial than usual care for elderly medical inpatients.
The identification of health care professionals who are incompetent, impaired, exploitative or have criminal intent is important for public safety. It is unclear whether psychiatrists are more likely to commit medical misconduct offences than non-psychiatrists, and if the nature of these offences is different.
The aim of this study was to compare the characteristics of psychiatrists disciplined in Canada and the nature of their offences and disciplinary sentences for the ten years from 2000 through 2009 to other physicians disciplined during that timeframe.
Utilizing a retrospective cohort design, we constructed a database of all physicians disciplined by provincial licensing authorities in Canada for the ten years from 2000 through 2009. Demographic variables and information on type of misconduct violation and penalty imposed were also collected for each physician disciplined. We compared psychiatrists to non-psychiatrists for the various outcomes.
There were 82 (14%) psychiatrists of 606 physicians disciplined in Canada in the ten years from 2000 through 2009, double the national proportion of psychiatrists. Of those disciplined psychiatrists, 8 (9.6%) were women compared to 29% in the national cohort. A total of 5 (6%) psychiatrists committed at least two separate offenses, accounting for approximately 11% of the total violations. A higher proportion of psychiatrists were disciplined for sexual misconduct (OR 3.62 [95% Confidence Interval [CI] 2.45–5.34]), fraudulent behavior (OR 2.32 [95% CI 1.20–4.40]) and unprofessional conduct (OR 3.1 [95% CI 1.95–4.95]). As a result, psychiatrists had between 1.85–4.35 greater risk of having disciplinary penalties in almost all categories in comparison to other physicians.
Psychiatrists differ from non-psychiatrist physicians in the prevalence and nature of medical misconduct. Efforts to decrease medical misconduct by psychiatrists need to be conducted and systematically evaluated.
Linked administrative data indicate that the distributions of mental health diagnoses are different for recent Chinese immigrants in British Columbia compared to a matched group reflecting the general population, as recorded in payments to general practitioners and psychiatrists between 1992 and 2001. Chinese immigrants were much less likely to have consultations for the mental disorders that were most common in the general population. Among those who saw a psychiatrist, psychotic conditions accounted for a larger proportion of visits for Chinese immigrants than those from the general population. The opposite was true for depressive conditions. The findings illuminate nuances in the disparity in mental health service utilization between Chinese immigrants and the general population.
Eighty-one patients with advanced breast cancer completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Rotterdam Symptom Checklist (RSCL) to determine how well these questionnaires identified patients suffering from an anxiety state or depressive illness, compared with an independent interview by a psychiatrist who used the Clinical Interview Schedule. A threshold score was defined for each questionnaire which gave the optimal sensitivity and specificity. Seventy-five per cent of patients were correctly identified as suffering from an affective disorder by both the Rotterdam Symptom Checklist and by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Twenty-one per cent of 'normal' patients were misclassified by the Rotterdam Checklist and 26% by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. When the HADs anxiety and depression subscales were analysed separately, the performance of the anxiety items was superior to that of the depression items. Both questionnaires were found to have good predictive value and could be used in patients with advanced cancer to help screen out those with an affective disorder.
To assess knowledge of capacity issues across different medical specialties
we conducted a cross-sectional survey with a structured questionnaire at
academic meetings, lectures and conferences.
Of 190 individuals who received the questionnaire 129 (68%)
responded—35 general practitioners, 31 psychiatrists, 29 old-age
psychiatrists and 34 final year medical students. Correct answers on capacity
to consent to or refuse medical treatment were given by 58% of the
psychiatrists, 34% of the geriatricians, 20% of the general practitioners and
15% of the students. 15% of all respondents wrongly believed that a competent
adult could lawfully be treated against his or her will, with no obvious
differences by specialty.
As judged by this survey, issues of capacity and consent deserve more
attention in both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education.
The one approach most favored for alcoholism by psychiatrists in Southern California who answered a questionnaire is membership in Alcoholics Anonymous. Ninety-nine per cent of them approved Alcoholics Anonymous, and 80 per cent had referred patients to the organization. Yet they believed only 10 per cent of the persons who join A.A. remain sober for over two years. This against the claim of A.A. that 60 per cent or more of their fellowship are recovered emphasized the pessimism of the psychiatrists questioned.
Ninety per cent of the psychiatrists who replied said they do not treat alcoholics or that they limit the number or the type they will accept for treatment. They obtain recovery, they said, of 10 per cent of patients, improvement of 50 per cent, and the rest are unchanged.
The emphasis in psychiatry is on elimination of the anxieties leading to alcoholism; in Alcoholics Anonymous the emphasis is on the strength to bear these anxieties. Ninety per cent of the replies received were in favor of clinics for alcoholics, and the respondents felt that governmental agencies should support these clinics. Under such circumstances psychiatrists would combine their abilities with psychologists, social workers and Alcoholics Anonymous. Thirty-five per cent of psychiatrists said they are willing to work in a clinic, the majority without recompense.
This study examines pathways to psychiatric care in Japan using the same method as the collaborative study carried out in 1991 under the auspices of the World Health Organization.
Thirteen psychiatric facilities in Japan were involved. Of the 228 patients who contacted psychiatric facilities with any psychiatric illness, eighty four visiting psychiatric facilities for the first time were enrolled. Pathways to psychiatric care, delays from the onset of illness to treatment prior to reaching psychiatrists were surveyed.
Thirty three patients (39.4%) directly accessed mental health professionals, 32 patients (38.1%) reached them via general hospital, and 13 patients (15.5%) via private practitioners. The patients who consulted mental health professionals as their first carers took a longer time before consulting psychiatrists than the patients who consulted non-mental health professionals as their first carers. The patients who presented somatic symptoms as their main problem experienced longer delay from the onset of illness to psychiatric care than the patients who complained about depressive or anxiety symptoms. Prior to the visit to mental health professionals, patients were rarely informed about their diagnosis and did not receive appropriate treatments from their physicians. Private practitioners were more likely to prescribe psychotropics than physicians in general hospitals, but were less likely to inform their patients of their diagnosis.
This first pathway to psychiatric care study in Japan demonstrated that referral pathway in Japan heavily relies on medical resources. The study indicates possible fields and gives indications, underlining the importance of improving skills and knowledge that will facilitate the recognition of psychiatric disorders presenting with somatic and depressive symptoms in the general health care system and by private practitioners.
Patients with diabetes experience some level of emotional distress varying from disease-specific distress to general symptoms of anxiety and depression. Since empirical data about symptom distress in relation to diabetes are sparse in Iran, this study was designed to assess the diabetes-specific distress in Iranian population.
Persian version of Diabetes Distress Scale (DDS) questionnaire was completed by volunteer outpatients on a consecutive basis between February 2009 and July 2010, in Endocrine Research Center (Firouzgar Hospital). Then, scheduled appointments were made with a psychiatrist in the same week following completion of the questionnaire. The psychiatrist was not aware about the results of this questionnaire and patients were interviewed based on DSM-IV criteria.
One hundred and eighty-five patients completed the questionnaire and were interviewed by a psychiatrist. Fifty-two percent of the patients were females. The mean age was 56.06 (SD=9.5) years and the mean of duration of diabetes was 9.7 (SD=7.3) years. Sixty-five (35%) had distress. Among the patients with distress, 55% were females and 64% had lower grade of education. Eighty patients were diagnosed as having Major Depressive Disorder. There was a relation between Emotional Burden subscale and age (P=0.004), employment status (P=0.03), and also diabetes duration (P=0.02). The physician-related distress subscale was also related to the type of medication (P=0.009) and marital status (P=0.01). It has been shown that the regimen-related distress subscale was also related to age (P=0.003) and duration of diabetes (P=0.005).
High prevalence rate of distress in the study highlights the significance of the need for identifying distress and also other mental health conditions in patients with diabetes in order to take collaborative care approaches.
Type 2 diabetes; distress; depression; anxiety
To aid general practitioners and other non-psychiatrists in the better recognition of mental illness short scales measuring anxiety and depression were derived by latent trait analysis from a standardised psychiatric research interview. Designed to be used by non-psychiatrists, they provide dimensional measures of the severity of each disorder. The full set of nine questions need to be administered only if there are positive answers to the first four. When assessed against the full set of 60 questions contained in the psychiatric assessment schedule they had a specificity of 91% and a sensitivity of 86%. The scales would be used by non-psychiatrists in clinical investigations and possibly also by medical students to familiarise them with the common forms of psychiatric illness, which are often unrecognised in general medical settings.
Objectives: To describe factors associated with initiation of depot antipsychotic medications in psychiatric outpatients with schizophrenia and recent medication nonadherence. Methods: A national sample of psychiatrists reported on adult outpatients with schizophrenia who were nonadherent with oral antipsychotic medications in the last year. Results: In total, 17.6% of psychiatrists initiated depot antipsychotic injections. Initiation was significantly and positively associated with public insurance, prior inpatient admission, proportion of time nonadherent, average or above average intellectual functioning, and living in a mental health residence. Use was inversely associated with using second-generation antipsychotics and other oral psychotropic medications prior to medication nonadherence. Psychiatrists who were male, nonwhite, and more optimistic about managing nonadherence were more likely to initiate depot injections. Conclusions: Initiation of depot injections is a joint function of patient, physician, treatment, and setting factors. Use of long-acting preparations in this population is uncommon despite clinical recommendations urging their use.
nonadherence; depot; antipsychotics
The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence rate of priority psychiatric disorders in a rural area in Kerala and to find out the sociodemographic correlates of the morbidity. A door to door survey had been conducted by trained surveyors to identify individuals with priority psychiatric disorders. The detected cases were examined by a psychiatrist at their houses in the village itself, to confirm as to whether they were having any psychiatric disorder. Out of the 1094 households surveyed (having a population of five thousand two hundred and eighty four), seventy seven individuals were found to have priority psychiatric disorders giving a prevalence rate of 14.57 per thousand. Females in general showed increased mental morbidity. An increased prevalence rate has been observed among Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes. An increased morbidity is noticed among the people belonging to the lower socioeconomic status.
prevalence; priority psychiatric disorders; rural
The aim of this study is to assess the rates of nicotine problems diagnosed by psychiatrists, the characteristics of psychiatric patients who smoke, and the services provided to them in routine psychiatric practice. Data were obtained by asking psychiatrists participating in the American Psychiatric Institute for Psychiatric Research and Education’s Practice Research Network to complete a self-administered questionnaire to provide detailed sociodemographic, clinical, and health plan information on three of their patients seen during routine clinical practice. A total of 615 psychiatrists provided information on 1,843 patients, of which 280 (16.6%) were reported to have a current nicotine problem. Of these, 9.1% were reported to receive treatment for nicotine dependence. Patients with nicotine problems were significantly more likely to be males, divorced or separated, disabled, and uninsured, and have fewer years 20 of education. They also had significantly more co-morbid psychiatric disorders, particularly schizophrenia or alcohol=substance use disorders; a lower Global Assessment Functioning score; and poorer treatment compliance than their counterparts. The results suggest a very low rate of identification and treatment of nicotine problems among patients treated by psychiatrists, even though psychiatric patients who smoke seem to have more clinical and psychosocial stressors and more severe psychiatric problems than those who do not smoke. Programs should be developed to raise the awareness and ability of psychiatrists to diagnose and treat patients with nicotine problems, with a particular emphasis on the increased medical and psychosocial needs of psychiatric patients who smoke.
Many psychiatrists are involved in sickness certification of their patients; however, there is very limited knowledge about this aspect of their work. The objective of this study was to explore frequencies of problematic issues in the sickness certification tasks and experiences of severity regarding these problematic issues among psychiatrists.
A cross-sectional nationwide questionnaire study to all physicians in Sweden. The 579 specialists in psychiatry who answered the questionnaire, were under 65 years of age, worked mainly in psychiatric care, and had consultations involving sickness certification at least once a week were included.
The frequency of problematic sickness certification consultations a few times per year or more often was considered by 87.3% of the psychiatrists; 11.7% handle such cases at least once a week. A majority (60.9%) reported ‘not having enough time with the patient’ at least once a week. The psychiatrists had access to several categories of professionals in their daily work. More than one third certified unnecessarily long sick-leave periods at least once a month due to waiting times for Social Insurance Office investigations or for treatments or investigations within health care.
The majority found it problematic to assess the level and duration of work incapacity, but also other types of problems like unnecessarily long sick-leave periods due to different types of waiting times. The findings have implications for different kinds of organisational and managerial support and training in sickness certification issues, like guidance to assess the level and duration of work incapacity.
Sickness certification; Psychiatry; Sick leave; Physician
A new centre has been established to provide readily accessible counselling, consultation, and mental health information. People may refer themselves or are recommended to attend by general practitioners or other agencies. The counsellors have varied backgrounds in paramedical or counselling services, and they are supported by psychiatrists. Of a sample of 100 clients, four were referred to one of the team's psychiatrists and 33 visited the centre only once. The centre's staff aim to adopt a flexible approach to the client and his problems, and formal psychiatric categories have not been found useful. Provision is made for people who want to solve their problems by discussion rather than medication and those for whom the existing psychiatric services may have little time to spare. Consequently, the approach adopted by the Isis Centre, whereby many people benefit from psychotherapy yet the psychiatrist deals directly with only a few selected cases, contributes towards meeting the great need for psychiatric services and using the psychiatrist's skills more effectively.