Skip to main content Accessibility help

Telephone consultancy in adolescent psychiatry: an audit

  • Declan Finnian Sheerin (a1)


Objective: An audit was carried out to evaluate the performance of a telephone consultancy service in adolescent psychiatry. Its objective was to answer the following questions: What does a telephone consultancy service actually do? Is it worth having? If so, how can we improve it? Method: Proforma data sheets on 69 consecutive calls to the Telephone Consultancy Service over a 16-month period were analysed. Results: Seventy-seven percent of enquirers used the service to request a referral or to ask about the appropriateness of referral but only 46% of enquiries were responded to in this way. Twenty-two percent of enquiries were given counselling or advice on how to proceed with the cases themselves. Almost 50% of calls came from the social work department and they enquired principally about conduct problems (27% of their calls) and sexual abuse victims (18% of their calls). General practitioners infrequently used the service (7 calls over a 16-month period). Conclusions: These findings appear to indicate that a telephone consultancy service can provide a counselling service and highlight community resources that may be overlooked by other agencies. However, infrequent use of the service by general practitioners suggests that there has been poor dissemination of information about the service – therefore it is important to bolster awareness of the service itself on a periodic basis amongst potential users.



Hide All
1.General Medical Council. Annual report of the general medical council. Bristol: General Medical Council, 1991.
2.Heather, N, Kissoon-Singh, J, Fenton, GW. Assisted natural recovery from alcohol problems: effects of a self-help manual with and without supplementary telephone contact. Br J Addict 1990; 85: 1177–85.
3.Hagopian, GA, Rubenstein, JH. Effects of telephone call interventions on patients' well-being in a radiation therapy department. Cancer Nurs 1990; 13(6): 339–44.
4.Squires, RW, Miller, TD, Harn, T, Michecls, TA, Palma, TA. Transtelephonic electrocardiographic monitoring of cardiac rehabilitation exercise sessions in coronary artery disease. Am J Cardiol 1991; 67: 962–4.
5.Hallam, L. Organisation of telephone services and patients' access to doctors by telephone in general practice. BMJ 1991; 302: 629–32.
6.Gidda, S. Telephone services and general practice (letter). BMJ 1991; 302: 1211.
7.Hallam, L. You've got a lot to answer for, Mr Bell. A review of the use of the telephone in primary care. Fam Prac 1989; 6: 4757.
8.McLaren, PM, Watson, JP, Summerfield, AB, Lipsedge, M. Interactive television in psychiatry. Psychiatric Bull 1992; 16: 288–91.
9.McLaren, PM, Ball, CJ. A pilot study on the use of the telephone in an acute psychiatric service. Psychiatric Bull 1992; 16: 531–2.
10.Difford, F. Defining essential data for audit in general practice. In: Audit in action. London: BMJ, 1992.
11.Wrate, RM, Rothery, DJ, McCabe, RJ, Aspin, J, Bryce, G. A prospective multicentre study of admissions to adolescent inpatient units. (Submitted for publication 1992).
12.Fergusson, DM, Horwood, LJ, Lynskey, MT. Family change, parental discord and early offending. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 1992; 33(6): 1059–75.
13.Singh, G, Barton, D, Bodiwala, GG. Accident and emergency department's response to patients' inquiries by telephone. J R Soc Med 1991; 84(6): 345–6.
14.Killila, BA. Undocumented phone calls: a liability issue. Indiana Medicine 1990; 83(10): 768–9.
15.Shaw, C. Looking forward to audit. In: Audit in action. London: BMJ, 1992.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0790-9667
  • EISSN: 2051-6967
  • URL: /core/journals/irish-journal-of-psychological-medicine
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed