Weekday and seasonal patterns in psychiatric referrals in three major London A&E departments, 2012-2014

BJPsych Bull. 2018 Feb;42(1):5-9. doi: 10.1192/bjb.2017.4.


Aims and method To identify temporal and demographic trends in referrals made to psychiatric liaison services. Routine clinical data from 16 105 individual referrals from three central London accident and emergency (A&E) departments to psychiatric liaison services from 2012 to 2014 were obtained and analysed using the Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS).

Results: Referrals from A&E to psychiatric liaison services increased 16% over the 3-year study period. There were fewer referrals to psychiatric liaison services in winter months compared with other seasons. There were fewer referrals to psychiatric liaison services over the weekend compared with weekdays (average 15.4 daily weekday referrals v. 13.2 weekend, z = 5.1, P < 0.001), and weekend referrals were slightly less likely to result in admission to psychiatric hospital (11.3% v. 12.8%, respectively, χ2 = 6.33, P = 0.01). Clinical implications Psychiatric staffing in A&E and inpatient psychiatric wards requires planning to meet temporal and regional variations in the pattern of demand. Declaration of interest None.