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Should liaison psychiatry change its name?

  • R. Dutta (a1), H. Heerah (a2), E. Turner and J. Bolton (a3)
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Should liaison psychiatry change its name?

  • R. Dutta (a1), H. Heerah (a2), E. Turner and J. Bolton (a3)

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Should liaison psychiatry change its name?

  • R. Dutta (a1), H. Heerah (a2), E. Turner and J. Bolton (a3)
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eLetters

Liaison Psychiatry

Biju Basil, Psychiatrist
05 December 2005

We read with interest the article by Dutta et al. Two facts caught ourattention. Like in any other field, there is an inherent resistance to change in clinicians. Second fact was that the first choice of 44% of the patients was ‘psychological medicine’. They gave very logical reasons for why they didn’t like the term ‘liaison psychiatry’. They felt that the word ‘liaison’ was not well understood and ‘psychiatry’ was off-putting and intimidating.

From our experience in three continents, we feel that it is true thatmany patients who come to the hospital for non-psychiatry related issues are not willing to see a psychiatrist. Though we try to wish it away, there still exists a strong stigma to being seen by a psychiatrist and most people would not want to think that they are ‘crazy enough’ to see a psychiatrist. If changing the name will make it easier and acceptable for the patients to see a psychiatrist, we should be willing to make that concession. We believe we should put our patient’s preference and convenience first, especially when in this case it doesn’t cost us anything.

United States have recently started using the term ‘Psychosomatic Medicine’ instead of ‘Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry’. Though slowly, many hospitals have started naming their earlier ‘Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry’ services as ‘Psychosomatic Medicine’ services. There is no objective data yet as to whether it has shown any desirable benefits and is worth looking into.
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Conflict of interest: None Declared

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