The practice of Dutch child and adolescent psychiatry – developments over the last fifteen years
background The child and adolescent psychiatry (cap) section of the Dutch Association for Psychiatry intends to keep track of the extent to which cap is practised and to monitor the way in which it functions. The cap has conducted three surveys since 1996. This paper reports on the 2012 survey.
aim To investigate the composition (i.e. age and gender) of specialists working in child and adolescent psychiatry, to find out how much time these psychiatrists really spend on child and adolescent psychiatry and what type of work they actually do; furthermore, to make a list of specific questions such as 24-hour availability, and to note opinions regarding the planned transfer of child and adolescent mental health care facilities to town councils.
method A survey was conducted and an analysis was made of the data collected.
results The number of specialists practicing child and adolescent psychiatry in the Netherlands, expressed in full-time equivalents, has more than doubled since 1996 (from 183 in 1996 tot 389 in 2012). Compared to 1996, many more of these psychiatrists spend nearly all their time on cap. The percentage of these specialists working only in private practice remains the same as in 1996 (19%) , although the percentage was lower in 2003 (135). Whereas in 1996 specialists in child and adolescent psychiatry worked mainly as psychotherapists, in 2012 they were working in a broader field, including assessment and pharmacotherapy.
conclusion Dutch cap has grown substantially over the past 15 years. Growth in psychiatry in general has been even more marked. Considering the current composition of the population, there is only a relatively limited amount of specialised psychiatric help available for people under the age of 20. The impending transfer of cap mental health care facilities to town councils is a matter of deep concern to professionals and to psychiatrists in particular. Only if cap investigations continue over the coming years will it become clear that this deep concern is entirely justified.