Research Article

Consultation-liaison scheme for self-poisoned patients in a general hospital.

Br Med J 1978; 2 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.2.6149.1392 (Published 18 November 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;2:1392
  1. R Gardner,
  2. R Hanka,
  3. B Evison,
  4. P M Mountford,
  5. V C O'Brien,
  6. S J Roberts

    Abstract

    In a prospective clinical trial 276 self-poisoned patients consecutively admitted to hospital were randomly allocated to medical teams or to psychiatrists for an initial psychiatric assessment and a decision about "disposal." Junior doctors and nurses received instruction in this work. While awaiting the outcome of the trial the randomisation was continued for 13 months and 729 allocations were made altogether. Physicians requested psychiatric opinions for roughly one in five of their patients. In other respects medical teams performed similarly to psychiatrists. Provided that due attention is given to teaching junior staff and to ensuring that psychiatric treatment and social-work support are available once patients have been assessed, such a consultation-liaison scheme could be adopted in other hospitals. This would help to change unfavourable attitudes towards self-poisoned patients and contribute to the general training of doctors and nurses.