An investigation of the correspondence between psychological problems diagnosed by GPs and those subsequently targeted for treatment by clinical psychologists

N. Broomfield, P. Fleming, D. Foot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1. To observe the level of concordance between problems identified by GPs in the referral letter, and primary treatment targets identified by Clinical Psychologists following assessment within an NHS Clinical Psychology Department. 2. To examine whether concordance between GP and Psychologist varies for different psychological problem areas. 3. To examine whether concordance between GP and Psychologist varies with time spent on the waiting list. A retrospective review, and classification, of GP referral letters and Psychologists treatment targets. A Department of Clinical Psychology based in Scotland. Sixty five GPs based across fifteen GP practices refer to the department. Four hundred and one patients consecutively referred by GPs to the Department of Clinical Psychology between April 1 1996 and March 31 1998, and subsequently assessed by one of the qualified Clinical Psychologists. Two hundred and seventy three cases were female (68.08%), 128 male (31.92%). Overall agreement between GP referred problem and Psychologist treatment target, coded in terms of EPPIC 'reasons for care' categories, was 'fair', and observed for 59.6% of cases. High agreement for eating disorders, moderate agreement for anxiety and depression, and low agreement for relationship/social problems was observed. Analysis indicated one third of anxiety referrals and one half of depression referrals were treated differently. Agreement levels were high for short waiting times, and lower for long waiting times, although findings for intermediate waiting times were mixed. Moderate agreement levels between GP and Clinical Psychologist in cases initially referred for anxiety and depression replicate previous findings. Low levels of agreement for relationship/social problems were not anticipated. The implications of results for future research and service provision are outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-187
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Bulletin
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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