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Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 1994 Jun;28(2):250-8.

Language, culture and psychiatric services: a survey of Victorian clinical staff.

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  • 1Victorian Transcultural Psychiatry Unit, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne.


In planning psychiatric services for non-English speaking immigrant communities it is essential to know what resources are available for the implementation of service plans. A survey of 991 professionals from a variety of disciplines working in Victorian state operated inpatient and community psychiatric services demonstrates that, although there is a substantial number of bilingual clinicians working in the system, there is a poor match between languages spoken by patient groups and clinicians, infrequent contact between bilingual clinicians and patients speaking the same language, and inadequate availability of interpreting services. Clinicians' knowledge of cultural issues relevant to assessment and treatment is inadequate, and there is some enthusiasm among clinical staff for remedying this deficiency. Clinicians express the opinions that services to non-English speaking patients are inferior, and clinical outcome is worse than for the Australian-born. There appears to be general support for changes which would seek to more adequately meet the psychiatric service needs of immigrants.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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