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Information for Referrers

Liasion Team – Information for Referrals

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Who Are We?

The Liaison Team at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children is a small specialist multi-disciplinary team comprising sessions from:

• Dr Elaine Lockhart Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist  

• Mrs Nadine Mushet Nurse Therapist  

• Mr Martin Donnelly Nurse Specialist  

• Ms Sandra Boyle Senior Staff Nurse, Neuro Psychiatry  

• Ms Amy Thomson - Ms Elizabeth Hunter Clinical Psychologists  

• Specialist Trainees  

• Mrs Laura Jarvis Team Secretary  

At times there are other grades of medical, nursing and psychology staff attached to the team. The team is based in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, where there are close links with Ward 4.  

Our Service

The primary function of the team is to provide a psychiatric service for children and young people who are in-patients at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children or who need a hospital based service for some other reason. There are no exclusions from the service. It is available to all ages and all range of learning ability as long as there is a clear role for psychiatric assessment. Children and young people who are in-patients in the hospital are generally seen within one working day of referral, and there is no waiting list for standard out-patient appointments.  

What We Offer:

- Assessment and treatment of children, adolescents and families.

- Joint clinics with other professionals e.g.Paediatricians, Paediatric Neurologists, The Pain Management Service and Specialist Nurses.

- Consultation to individual professionals, Paediatric Teams and Community Psychiatry Teams.

- Liaison with Clinical Psychology and Community Psychiatric Services.

- Training of Paediatric and Psychiatric Staff.

- Research and Audit.

The Way We Work

Where possible the child or young person and their family are assessed initially by 2 members of the team. We frequently find it useful to work together with paediatric colleagues to complete an assessment. We may then offer either individual work, family work and/or medication advice as deemed appropriate. In some cases we may refer the case on to a more appropriate service. The team uses a range of therapies including:

• Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

• Family and Systems Interventions

• Problem Solving Approaches  

Families may be seen on either an in-patient or out-patient basis, or a combination of both.

Reasons for Referral

Referrals are accepted where there is a complex, severe or specifically psychiatric disorder. Common reasons for referral include:

• Complicated psychological disorders relating to chronic illness.

• Neuropsychiatric disorders.

• Physical disorders with significant psychological aetiology e.g. somatisation, conversion disorder, unexplained physical symptoms

• Complex pain disorders

• Factitious illness

• Overdose or self-injury  

How to Refer

All referrals should be directed in the first instance to the Liaison team secretary (details at end of document). It is expected that urgent referrals will be made via telephone contact. For non-urgent referrals, however, it is preferable that referrers provide some written details to aid team discussion and allocation.

Urgent Referrals

The Team offers an on-call service available: Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm If a medical psychiatric response is specifically required and cannot be achieved within the team, the referral is passed to the emergency service Duty Child Psychiatrist.

Non-Urgent Referrals

The team meets weekly to discuss new referrals (Wednesday am). Non-urgent referrals are discussed at these meetings and allocated to members of staff.  

Out of Hours Services

Out of hours referrals Between 5pm and 9am and at weekends, emergency referrals should be directed to the emergency Child and Adolescent Psychiatry service, accessed by phoning RHSC switchboard (0141 201 1100).

* Urgent referrals seen within 24 hours  

Alternative Services

The liaison team is one of a number of services provided to meet the emotional and behavioural needs of children, young people and families. These include:

• Community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Teams (CAMHS)

• Clinical Psychology Services

• Community Children’s Nursing Team

• Social Work Practitioners

• Family Bereavement Service

• Family Support and Information Service  

If there is an uncertainty about which service is most suitable for a referral, this can be discussed with the team’s Duty Case Manager who is responsible for taking referrals that day. Referrals requiring liaison within the hospital but not the expertise of a multi-disciplinary mental health team will be discussed with the referrer and may be subject to brokerage with Clinical Psychology Services which receive direct referrals for early intervention, and are at times part of paediatric teams.  

Where there is no clear need for liaison within the hospital, referrals will be passed on to an appropriate community team or other specialist team (e.g. the Scottish Centre for Autism) after discussion with the referrer.