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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 114-120

Referrals to Psychiatric Service: An Analysis of the Content of Referral Letters


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, VardhamanMahavir Medical College & Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, All Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
3 ShrikantSharma, Department of Psychiatry, Consultant Psychiatrist, Anandam Psychiatry Centre, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Shaily Mina
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College & Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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Background: The quality and quantity of referral letters is particularly important as they are central to the process of case allocation. Additionally the timing and nature of the psychiatrist response is primarily determined by the referral letter. Aim: To study the appropriateness and quality of psychiatric referrals presented in the referral document to the psychiatricservice at a tertiary care referral centreduring one year. Method: The referral letters of all patients referred from other departments to the psychiatric service of PGIMER Dr R.M.L. Hospital on Mondays during one year were studied. The diagnosis in the referral letter was compared to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th edition, and to the final diagnosis in the case notes for agreement. Results: Among the whole sample of 75 referrals there were 42 males (56%) and 32 (42.7%) females and 1 (1.3%) missing data. Analysis of the referral letters showed that Diagnosis was clearly indicated in only 6 and that was of delirium. Symptomswere mentioned in 55 (73.3%) and not mentioned in 20 (26.7%) of the referral letters. Symptoms were adequately mentioned in 31 (56.4%) and inadequately in 24 (43.6%)letters. Conclusion: There is poor quality of referral letters and obvious poor response rate of psychiatrists. This is an indication for urgent need for intensive training to physicians advising them to include particular items of information in future referrals.


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