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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 58 (2016) 10, 733 - 738

Short report

The tasks and aims of hospital psychiatry today and in the future

A. Honig, D. Sierink, B. Verwey

background Care provided by consultation-liaison (cl) psychiatry and general hospital (gh) psychiatry varies widely. This means that certain services are almost unrecognisable and therefore less readily available to patients.
aim To describe the core tasks of current cl- and gh-psychiatry care and to suggest how these tasks can best be performed and developed in the future.
method We conducted a selective review of relevant cl- and gh-related literature and combined the information we obtained with the results of a consultation with cl-psychiatrists about how cl- and GL psychiatry should function in the future.
results Core tasks of cl- and gh-psychiatry are: 1. inpatient and outpatient care for complex patients with combined somatic and psychiatric problems (including addiction) and 2. acute care, diagnosis and treatment of patients referred to the Emergency Department. We gave an outline of how the quality of training can be maintained and/or improved and we suggest ways in which the funding of cl- and gh-psychiatry can be safeguarded and, if possible, increased in the future.
conclusion We strongly recommend that large teaching hospitals and all university hospitals should have at their disposal a psychiatric consultation service that includes psychiatric Emergency Department facilities and specialised cl and gh inpatient and outpatient facility such as a medical-psychiatric unit. The cl- and gh-service should have a psychiatrist as gatekeeper and should be integrated into the hospital’s chain of care. Partners in this chain of care are interns who have other medical specialisms, mental health specialists employed at other (mainly psychiatric) hospitals and general practitioners (gps).

keywords general hospital psychiatry, medical-psychiatric unit, mission statement