• mental health;
  • community care;
  • multidisciplinary education;
  • multidisciplinary practice;
  • skills

A descriptive survey to identify the perceived skills and community skill requirements of mental health staff¶ Throughout the 1990s mental health care has shifted from a hospital to a community-based service. Government policy indicates that staff require further education as a result of the shift to community care. However, none of the United Kingdom policy documents or mental health literature prescribes what education is required. Consequently this multidisciplinary study aimed to identify what skills, if any, were required by hospital-based staff to move to a community-based working environment. Study findings suggest advantages in perceiving skills as overlapping and interconnecting. Five common core skills and skill differences between professional groups are identified. It is argued that core skills are central and common to all groups and specialist skills are those that distinguish professional groups one from another and different grades of staff within professional groups. While problems of multidisciplinary education are considered, nevertheless a case is made for educating staff in core skills within a multidisciplinary environment which may be beneficial in achieving community care goals.