FOI: Liaison Psychiatry Referral Policy

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust,

We are a group of clinicians & researchers carrying out a national evaluation of liaison psychiatry service provision in NHS hospitals across England. As part of this project, we are submitting FOI requests to all NHS Mental Health Trusts to ask about local policy and practice. We kindly request the following information as per the FOI Act 2000.

Our enquiries relate to the provision of liaison psychiatry services in adult general hospitals, including patients in inpatient wards or A&E departments. This research is conducted as part of an Academic Foundation Programme research post. No specific grant was awarded for this project. All findings will be de-identified from Hospitals or Trusts before publication.

1. At which general hospital(s) does your Trust provide liaison psychiatry services?

For each of the above hospitals, please answer the questions below:

2. Is there a written policy about prioritising patients who have been referred to liaison psychiatry, or determining which referrals to accept? (If No, please move to Question 6).

3. If so, is this policy made available to all (psychiatry and non-psychiatry) clinicians working within the general hospital? If so, please specify where (e.g. Trust intranet)?

4. Please attach the policy document if possible. We aim to extract only certain information from the policy document, so if the complete policy document cannot be sent, please send the following information:

a. Details on which locations this policy covers and which patients (i.e. inpatient ward/A&E/referrals) the policy covers.

b. Details on any guidelines to prioritise or determine which referrals to accept. Specifically:
i. Patients should be medically fit for discharge prior to review
ii. Patients should be medically fit for assessment prior to review
iii. No restriction applied; all patients are reviewed
iv. Any other methods used to prioritise patient referrals (please specify)

c. Whether the policy states which professional group (e.g. psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse) should review the referral and/or assess the patient? If so, please specify.

d. When was the policy last reviewed or updated?

5. When (if at all) was local practice last audited against this policy and what were the findings?

6. At your Trust, how do doctors refer patients to liaison psychiatry for review (e.g. by telephone, by electronic referral system, by email, by fax)?

Many thanks for your time. Please do not hesitate to get in touch by email if you have any questions or clarifications. We look forward to your reply.

Yours faithfully,

Dr George Gillett, 
Academic Foundation Programme Doctor
Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford 

Dr William Lee, 
Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter Medical School.
Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist, Devon Partnership NHS Trust.


Dear Monika,

FOI 19-435 - request regarding Liaison Psychiatry

Thank you for your recent Freedom of Information request we are now investigating the nature of the search and the quantity of information requested. Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act we will expect to respond to this request in 20 working days.

Please be aware there are a number of exemptions within the Act which could stop the release of information. The information will be assessed for these exemptions prior to us releasing the information to you. We will advise you if we are unable to provide the information requested and will confirm the exemption used.

In addition to this, please note that there may be a cost associated to your request in line with section 12 of the Act. If there is a cost associated with your request we will contact you and explain the cost.

In accordance with section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 where multiple requests for information are received from one person or by different persons who appear to be acting in together in a single campaign the estimated cost of complying with any of the requests is to be taken to be the estimated total cost of complying with all of them. To this effect your requests for information will be dealt with under the single reference number above.

If you have any queries I would be grateful if you would contact me so that we can discuss the issues. Details of the complaints procedure will be sent to you should you wish to see them. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are not content with the outcome your complaint, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the Trust. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

Information Governance Team
Dudley and Walsall Mental Health NHS Trust

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