Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Psychiatrists fall down on basic medical care

Mental disorder and physical health are very closely linked. Physical illness can manifest itself as psychiatric disturbance while psychiatric patients have high rates of physical illness, much of which goes undetected. Psychiatric drugs can also have serious physical side effects which need careful monitoring. A survey of 50 outpatients and 50 inpatients in Solihull, West Midlands, found that while 80% of the inpatients had had routine blood tests only 6% of the outpatients group had. 62% of the inpatients group received a full physical examination whereas none of the outpatients had had one. The survey also found a poor level of record keeping in particular where physical examinations or investigations were omitted.

Dale, Jenny, Sorour, Eman and Milner, Gabrielle - Do psychiatrists perform appropriate physical investigations for their patients? A review of current practices in a general psychiatric inpatient and outpatient setting Journal of Mental Health June 2008, 17(3), 293-298

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