Does extra staff change clinical practice? A prospective study of the impact of extra resources in mental health teams

Authors


Andrew Kent, Department of Psychiatry, St George's Hospital Medical School, Jenner Wing, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, UK E-mail: akent@sghms.ac.uk

Abstract

Objective: To compare patterns of clinical activity amongst existing staff in two inner-city community mental health teams before and after their enhancement with extra resources using a new activity schedule containing 11 comprehensive and mutually exclusive practice categories.

Method: Patterns of clinical activity amongst existing members of two inner-London community mental health teams were compared before and after the addition of extra resources.

Results: The amount of time spent in face-to-face contact with patients and carers showed no meaningful change following team enhancement. Patterns of clinical activity amongst team members remained relatively static.

Conclusion: Adding resources to community mental teams without considering how to target the time released amongst existing staff may reduce their capacity to work more innovatively.

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