Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the profile of attenders at psychiatric outpatient clinics in community health centres in Dublin.
Method: A chart review was undertaken retrospectively on attenders at two clinics in different socioeconomic areas. Demographic data and information on services was recorded. Psychiatric outpatient clinic functioning in a community setting was observed during the period of the study.
Results: The findings of this study suggest that attenders at psychiatric OPD clinics are more likely to be long-term, in the 40-50 year age group, female, unemployed and eligible for free medical care within the General Medical Services (GMS). Mood (affective) disorders was the largest diagnostic category. There were financial barriers to patient discharge to primary care and shared care with general practitioners.
Conclusions: Opportunitie s have been identified to improve communication and optimise patient flow through the psychiatric OPD system. Such improvements in clinic function would be likely to lead to enhanced health gain for attenders.