Psychiatry and Family Medicine: The McMaster Approach
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Family physicians may spend up to 50% of their time dealing with emotional problems but will refer less than 10% of these cases for psychiatric treatment. This paper describes an approach developed at McMaster University which emphasizes the importance of understanding the needs of family physicians and helping them make optimum use of available psychiatric services. Such an approach aims at increasing the comfort and expertise of family physicians in handling the problems they see on a regular basis, involving them actively in their patient's care after a referral, and offering relevant services that supplement those of the family physician, while monitoring and correcting problems that can arise when the two specialties work together. The implications that this has on the training of family medicine and psychiatry residents are discussed as well as ways in which continuing education can be provided for family physicians in community practice.
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