Objectives: The aim of this survey was to assess current structures for provision of consultation/liaison services to older people in the Republic of Ireland, and to ascertain the proportion of referrals to psychiatry of old age arising from consultation/liaison referrals.
Methods: A postal questionnaire was sent to the 19 public sector, old age psychiatry services, operating in 2005. Information was obtained from 15 of these 19 services regarding the referrals they received in 2005.
Findings: Consultation/liaison referrals make up 36% of total referrals to psychiatry of old age services. Two of 14 services had ring-fenced resources for consultation/liaison work. Three of 14 consultants described their service as having a significant liaison component. Location of the service and the criteria for accepting a referral are associated with the proportion of referrals that are consultation/liaison.
Conclusions: Consultation/liaison referrals make up a significant proportion of referrals. To provide an effective consultation/liaison service ring-fenced resources are required. Despite this recent long term strategies for national service development have neglected this area.