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Br J Gen Pract. 2000 Apr;50(453):307-8.

GPs' referral to mental health care during the past 25 years.

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Department of Mental Health, Netherlands Institute of Primary Health Care, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Previous research has shown that mental disorder in the community has remained fairly constant over the past 30 years. As a result there has been a shift in mental health care from primary care to specialised mental health care. This shift should be visible in higher referral figures from general practice. In this longitudinal analysis of mental health referrals (1971 to 1997), the authors aimed to answer whether these higher referral rates have occurred, whether there are increases in referral for specific groups, and whether the referral pattern has changed. The results demonstrate an increase in referral rate with a factor of 4.5. It is concluded that we are witnessing a pull from mental health care together with a push from general practice, thus reinforcing each other.

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