Aim: Increase access to psychiatric services, support GPs in treatment of psychiatric conditions, and reduce the waitlists by providing community-based psychiatric assessment and consultation services.
Physician Lead: Dr. Genevieve Lauzon
Funding Source: Shared Care
In 2012, some North Shore psychiatrists had wait lists over a year long and many were not accepting referrals. The North Shore Division of Family Practice and Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) formed a GP/Psychiatry working group to improve patients' access to psychiatric services.
The working group recognized that some patients who were waiting to see psychiatrists needed specialized mental health services on a long-term basis, while others could receive most of their mental health care from their GPs, if a psychiatrist simply provided a little guidance on management and/or diagnosis. The working group decided to establish a Psychiatric Consultation Clinic (PCC) that would provide a one-time consultation service to increase client access to psychiatric services, support GPs in the treatment of psychiatric conditions, and reduce wait lists.
The PCC has been running since November 2012. A psychiatrist is available one day per week to see patients. About 200 patients are referred to the PCC each year, and the median time from a referral to a visit with the psychiatrist is one month. The GP/Psychiatry working group monitors the PCC and ensures that it continues to benefit patients and family physicians.
In 2017, the GP/Psychiatry working group began a new project to improve communication and coordination between GPs and VCH's mental health and substance use services. For example, the new project aims to ensure that GPs receive reports when their patients are discharged from acute psychiatric services; this will support follow-up care in the community.