a1 Mental Illness Research Unit, University of Manchester
Thirty patients suffering from new episodes of depression or anxiety disorders seen by a hospital-based psychiatric service were matched for severity of illness with 30 patients seen by a community mental health team based upon primary care. These patients were drawn from a total of 108 such patients seen in the community and 57 seen by the hospital service. Clinical and social outcomes were similar in both groups, and neither was clearly superior in terms of quality of clinical information recorded. However, patients treated in the community were seen more quickly, had more continuity of care and were more satisfied with the service. Health services costs were less for those patients treated in the community, because patients were less likely to be admitted. With one a typical patient excluded, treatment by the community team is more cost effective. The greater number of patients seen by the primary-care-based service means that there is no overall cost saving to the NHS.
c1 Address for correspondence: Professor David Goldberg, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF.