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


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


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.