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Palaniappan Sundaram, Sati Sembhi and Peter Devlin
There is an increasing emphasis on strengthening links between the primary and specialist services in order to provide more effective care for patients. The aim of this…
There is an increasing emphasis on strengthening links between the primary and specialist services in order to provide more effective care for patients. The aim of this paper is to focus on a study to engage frontline, secondary care clinicians in a process of reflection on the role of link workers and to identify their view of priorities.
The paper adopts a mixed method study involving focus groups (qualitative method with deductive approach) followed by a survey (quantitative method with an interpretative approach).
The essential role of link workers in managing clinical throughput/flow and improving communication with general practitioners is highlighted. In contrast, crisis intervention and relapse prevention were identified to be of least importance, probably indicating the role of crisis teams and community teams in fulfilling these functions, respectively.
It has become apparent through this evaluation that there may be a need to strike a balance between the emphasis upon greater integration of this role with community mental health teams and closer collaboration with general practitioners.
The study is part of a service evaluation undertaken with a view to evaluating the role of link workers.