• quality of care;
  • satisfaction;
  • psychiatric referrals;
  • audit of services

Shipley K, Hilborn B, Hansell A, Tyrer J, Tyrer P. Patient satisfaction: a valid index of quality of care in a psychiatric service.

Acta Psychiatr Scand 2000: 101: 330–333. © Munksgaard 2000.

Objective: To assess patients, clinicians' and referrers' satisfaction with care in newly referred psychiatric patients and to compare these with standard quality indicators such as waiting times used by the service.

Method: A random sample of all new adult psychiatric patients presenting over a 4–month period in 2 successive years to an inner-city psychiatric service was assessed.

Results: One hundred and thirteen (68%) of 167 randomly selected patients were seen. Independent evidence of service performance showed that patient satisfaction, but not clinician or referrer satisfaction, was a more accurate indicator of quality of care than standard indicators.

Conclusion: Simple ratings of patient satisfaction alone may be useful indicators of quality of psychiatric care.