Objectives: General practitioners were surveyed by questionnaire for their opinions on their needs and usage of a new child psychiatric service in the Midwestern Health Board.
Methods: The questionnaire was returned by 72% of GPs. Their practices included inner city, new towns, country town, and rural communities.
Results: It was found that 160 children were awaiting referral to the new service of which the most prominent presenting problems were hyperactivity, learning difficulties, enuresis, poor parenting skills, dysfunctional families, anorexia/eating disorders and psychosomatic problems. Primary school children required more frequent referral than secondary school children. GPs appreciated telephone access to the psychiatrist and for the service to be available for emergencies. A few GPs requested discussion meetings following referral. Most GPs were satisfied with any member of the multi-disciplinary child psychiatric team assessing the children.
Conclusions: This study was a useful method of assessing the numbers and nature of problems which might present to a new child psychiatric service in order that staff and treatment programmes could be organised. Results suggest that further research is necessary.