A Letter of Consequence: Referral Letters from General Practitioners to Secondary Mental Health Services

Shaw, Ian and Clegg Smith, Katherine M and Middleton, Hugh and Woodward, Louise A Letter of Consequence: Referral Letters from General Practitioners to Secondary Mental Health Services. Qualitative Health Research, 15 . pp. 116-128.

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Abstract

The referral letter is a key instrument in moving patients from primary to secondary care services. Consequently, the circumstances in which a referral should be made and its contents have been the subject of clinical guidelines. This article is based on a project that demonstrated that physicians do not adhere to clinical guidelines when referring patients to secondary mental health services. This research supports earlier findings into noncompliance with guidelines by general practitioners (GPs). The authors briefly note possible reasons, which have been the subject of some debate. They also present a content analysis of referral letters to demonstrate the important ways in which they differ from guideline criteria. However, their central argument is that the role of the referral letter in relation to the GP’s repertoire of treatments has not been understood fully. Such understanding implies the need for a reexamination of the support available for GPs.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:referral letter; general practitioners; ritual; communication
Schools/Departments:Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Sociology and Social Policy
ID Code:786
Deposited By:Middleton, Dr. Hugh
Deposited On:05 Feb 2008 11:41
Last Modified:05 Feb 2008 11:41

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