• cancer;
  • psychiatric consultation;
  • psychiatric liaison;
  • truth-telling

To improve access to psychiatric consultation for cancer patients as well as non-cancer patients with psychiatric disorders, a psychiatric liaison programme to communicate closely with physicians and ward staff regarding anticipated psychiatric morbidity in patients, was introduced in each ward of a general hospital. The rate of psychiatric consultation referrals for cancer patients was significantly higher after the psychiatric liaison programme was established. The programme had a greater impact on the rate of psychiatric consultation in a unit with cancer patients who were informed of their diagnoses. The greater consultation rates in cancer patients after the liaison programme might be, in part, associated with the physicians’ attitude toward the more open disclosure of the cancer diagnosis.