Allied mental health referral. Trends in the Adelaide Hills Division of General Practice

Christopher A Barton, Melissa Opolski, Elizabeth Cleland, Amy Cotton, Nancy Briggs, Michael Taylor, Cate Howell
Australian Family Physician 2008, 37 (10): 888-91

BACKGROUND: Referrals to allied health professionals as part of Access To Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) and More Allied Health Services (MAHS) at the Adelaide Hills Division of General Practice were examined to gain insight into the characteristics of referred patients and the characteristics of referring general practitioners.

METHODS: Data held by the division for the two allied mental health programs was extracted for the period July 2001 to December 2005. The analysis identified characteristics of patients and GPs that were associated with referrals to each program.

RESULTS: One hundred and sixteen GPs made 2451 referrals. Female patients accounted for 72% of referrals. Men were more likely to be referred to MAHS than women, and were more likely to be referred by a male GP. Mean Kessler Psychological Distress Scale scores were 31.3 for ATAPS and 27.7 for MAHS referred patients.

DISCUSSION: This study identified significant trends in the use of these programs. Further research is needed to understand factors driving these trends.

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