How can mental health services and primary care best collaborate to enhance physical health outcomes among patients presenting with first episode of psychosis? A mixed methods study

For people who experience a first episode psychosis, this is a critical event in their life. If they do not receive the appropriate treatment at an early stage of the illness, they will experience potentially serious health consequences - both physical and mental. Good collaboration between specialist mental health services and primary care (e.g. GPs) is really important to ensure a person experiencing such an episode will receive the appropriate treatment and also may promote better physical health. Ireland's Health Services Executive (HSE) has identified such collaboration as a key target goal of new models of care for FEP and the College of Psychiatry in Ireland has identified 'key workers' as an important element.
In this study, we seek to examine how primary and secondary care might best collaborate to ensure people with FEP will receive adequate care where their physical health is concerned.
In the first part of our study, we will interview groups of people who we think will have a good insight on this problems - GPs, nurses, psychiatrists, social workers, and most importantly, patients. We will ask people how primary anda secondary might best collaborate to ensure patients experiencing FEP will receive good physical healthcare.
In the second part, we will introduce a pilot 'key worker' scheme, whereby a key worker will work with patients from a number of practices affiliated to two mental health services. By examining how GPs, mental health services and patients engage with this pilot, we will determine whether such a scheme is worth replicating nationally and if so, how it might be further developed. 
By working closely with the relevant officials in the HSE, the project will inform policy; by working with the HSE's 'Service User Engagement Office', the perspectives of service users will be central to this work.


Award Date
28 September 2017
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Walter Cullen
Host Institution
University College Dublin
Research Collaborative in Quality and Patient Safety