Liaison psychiatry

Psychiatric liaison services provide mental health care to people being treated for physical health conditions in general hospitals. The co-occurrence of mental and physical health problems is very common among these patients, often leading to poorer health outcomes and increased health care costs. An effective liaison psychiatry service offers the prospect of saving money as well as improving health.

People who have a long term physical health condition are more than twice as likely to have a mental health problem as the general population. This can have a huge effect on a patient’s chances of recovery. For example, someone with chronic heart failure is eight times more likely to die within 30 months if they also have depression. Altogether, there are over 4.6 million people with a long term physical health condition and co-morbid mental health problem, all of whom would benefit from more integrated physical and mental health care.

Half of all hospital inpatients have mental health conditions such as depression and dementia. Identifying and managing these conditions quickly and effectively helps people to recover and reduces their length of stay in hospital.

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