Impact of counsellors in primary care on referrals to secondary mental health services
White M., Bijlani N., Bale R., Burns T.
Aims and method: A questionnaire survey of all general practices in one health authority plus an assessment of a random sample of referrals were used to evaluate the impact of counsellors in primary care on referrals to mental health services. Results: A total of 91.1% of practices responded to the survey. A counsellor was present in 20.3% of these practices. A random sample of 180 referrals to community mental health teams was reviewed. There was a significantly higher referral rate from practices that employed a counsellor (P=0.003). There was no evidence of a difference in rates of caseness of referrals between practices that employed a counsellor and those that did not. Clinical implications: Practices employing counsellors had significantly higher referral rates to mental health services, with no difference in the level of caseness between the two groups of referrals.