Objective: This study aimed to determine if the inception of Early Intervention Services (EISs) is followed by an improvement in the prompt treatment of people with first episode psychosis.
Method: A prospective cohort study of referrals to new and established EISs was conducted at 1, 2, 3, and 4 years after inception of new EIS. The study was conducted with 14 (seven new and seven established) secondary care EIS within geographically defined catchment areas in England between 2005 and 2009. Participants included 1027 consecutive referrals to EIS aged 14-35 with a first episode of psychosis. Duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) and number of participants treated adequately within 6 months of onset were the main outcome measures.
Results: A significant downward trend across yearly cohorts for DUP for new EIS (F1,549=8.4, p=0.004) but not for established EIS (F1,429=1.7, p=0.19) was observed. There was a significant upward trend across cohorts in the proportion of referrals treated within 6 months for new EIS (X(2)=8.0, df=1, p=0.005), but not for established EIS (X(2)=0.1, df=1, p=0.72).
Conclusion: The introduction of new EIS was followed by a reduction in DUP and an increase in the proportion of patients treated within 6 months of onset. These trends were not present in the catchment areas of established services where DUP was initially lower, suggesting that there was no general tendency for DUP to fall over time. Hence, the introduction of an EIS was followed by an improvement in the prompt and proper treatment of first episode psychosis.
Keywords: Duration of untreated psychosis; Early Intervention Service; Psychosis.
Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier B.V.