Psychiatrist, Writer, Commentator

What do GPs want from a psychiatrist's letter?.

Thursday, 01st January 2009
Australasian Psychiatry. 17(5):385-8, 2009.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the preferences of general practitioners (GPs) in reply letters for patients referred for a one-off psychiatric assessment. METHOD: A sample of GPs referring to a primary mental health team service were mailed a questionnaire inquiring into the usefulness of 21 different letter items. RESULTS: The response rate was 51%. Many of the items in our routine reply letters were rated highly, but others such as developmental history, supplementary information and a comprehensive report were not. Sending a copy of the letter to the patient was rated as useful by only 42.5%. CONCLUSIONS: The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists' guidelines for reply letters are endorsed. There are, however, some additional items that GPs may find useful.