Find out what to expect when you come to your appointment.

Find out what to expect from your appointment with the Hammersmith & Fulham liaison psychiatry team.

Before your appointment

Whether you are attending one of our specialist clinics or seeing a liaison psychiatrist as an inpatient at one of our hospitals, you are welcome to include a close friend, family member or carer in your care. However it is not uncommon for us to ask to see you by yourself first before inviting your family member, carer or friend in with you. This is so that we can discuss any concerns you may have in a safe environment which is confidential. It also provides you an opportunity to discuss matters with us that you may not want disclosed to those close to you. You will always be asked whether you would like someone to be with you during your appointment.

If you are engaging in formal therapy through one of our clinics, this is one-to-one therapy and can be discussed with the therapist prior to engaging with the treatment. It is helpful, although not essential, that you provide us with your past medical history, medication list and any psychiatric history.

During your appointment

In A&E we endeavour to see patients within one hour of the referral being made to our service. At periods of high demand this may well take longer. For our specialist clinics you should receive an appointment within a month of referral to the service.

For emergency assessments that take place in the A&E department how long the appointment takes is dependent on the circumstances of the crisis and the outcome of assessment. For our specialist clinics the appointments can range between thirty minutes to an hour.

We will usually only see you if you have given your consent. Anything you say to us is treated in the strictest confidence and will only be shared with other members of the team and with other people involved in your care such as your GP. We work in both the general hospital and also the mental health trust. Our notes are stored safely on the secure mental health trust electronic records system and a copy placed in your hospital notes so that the doctors who are treating you have a record of our advice.

As we are a teaching hospital there may be times that a medical student or a student nurse will be with us. You will be informed of this when we meet you and you will be given the opportunity to agree or refuse whether they can remain in the consultation.

You may have one of two different types of appointments with us:

  • Liaison psychiatry: If your doctor feels you would benefit from our service and you meet the referral criteria, you may be seen by a member of our liaison psychiatry team while you are in hospital, either on the ward or in A&E. A member of the team will meet with you to discuss any concerns about your mental health and the impact this may be having on your life as a whole. We include family and carers’ views, as well as those of any other professionals who may be already involved in your care.
  • Specialist clinics: You will be seen by a doctor, nurse, psychotherapist or psychologist from the service you have been referred to. This appointment may be in hospital or at home. A member of the team will talk to you about your health and the impact this has on you. They may well ask others involved in your life for information such as family, carers or other professionals who know you well. Ongoing treatment, support, therapy and a treatment timeline will be discussed with you. 

After your appointment

We discuss all our assessments as a team to ensure that we provide the best help for you. We would also discuss our opinion and plans with your medical team. For some patients one meeting with us is enough, for others we may need to see you a number of times.

We may need to refer you to other agencies once you are discharged from hospital to continue treatment and we will inform your GP of our input. You may receive a copy of any letters we send to your GP and receive a care plan based on the outcome of our discussion with you.

If we believe that there is a significant risk you might seriously harm yourself or others, or we are concerned about possible harm to vulnerable people such as children, we may be obliged to speak to other agencies about your care.

Watch this video to learn more about the liaison psychiatry service offered at St Mary’s Hospital by the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust.