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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 51 (2009) 6, 395 - 399

Short report

Alarming reduction in the psychiatric treatment capacity of general hospitals in the Netherlands between 1998 and 2006

A.F.G Leentjens, I. Sonderen, W.M.N.J. Buis

summary
background
Psychiatric wards in both general and academic hospitals are ideally suited to provide integrated care to patients with psychiatric and somatic comorbidity.
aim To draw up an inventory of the capacity of general hospitals in the Netherlands to treat psychiatric patients and to record changes in this capacity during the period 1998-2006.
method Questionnaire.
results The number of psychiatric wards in general and academic hospitals decreased from 87 in 1998 to 38 in 2006. This decrease was not compensated by an increase in day-treatment facilities, or by the establishment of combined psychiatric-medical units.
conclusion The reduction in the psychiatric treatment capacity of general hospitals is at odds with epidemiological developments and the expected imminent increase in the need for integrated diagnoses and care for patients with both psychiatric and somatic comorbidity.

keywords hospital psychiatry, psychiatric ward in a general hospital, psychiatric university clinic, psychiatric-medical unit