The Dutch mental health system for young people 'comprises several organizations and services, the most important being Youth Mental Health Care (leugd GGZ) and the Youth! pare Agency (Bureau Jeugdzorg). General practitioners (GPs) refer children with suspected mental health problems to a youth care agency, which is responsible for referring, if necessary,children and adolescents on to more specialist care, such as that provided by youth mental health care. Recently, there has been considerable publicity about waiting lists, the cooperation and communication between the different services, electronic patient records for children and adolescents, and the referral practices of youth care agencies. Despite the major role of GPs in detecting mental health problems, little is known about their Jopinion of youth mental health care and youth care agencies, their feelings about medical patient records for children and adolescents, and their experiences since the introduction of the Youth Care Act in 2005 (Wet op de Jeugdzorg). Methods Half-open interviews were held with 24 GPs from 'deprived neighbourhoods in Rotterdam. The interviews were transcribed, coded, and analysed. Results The GPs reported a lack of clarity about referral routes, and many GPs referred patients directly to youth mental health services, even though this is not the official route. Waiting lists were too long and there was no oversight. Moreover, communication between the various organizations and services could be improved. Opinions about the youth care agency as point Of access to youth mental health care varied - while GPs were ; reasonably positive about the system for problem identification ; and assessment, they were less positive about electronic patient; records for children and adolescents and expressed concern about privacy issues.Conclusions There is a general lack of clarity about referral to youth mental health care and youth health care, with GPs voicing criticism of the referral procedures described in the Youth pare Act. The role of GPs in this system of problem identification and assessment and in access to electronic patient records for minors needs further investigation.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Huisarts en Wetenschap|
|Publication status||Published - 1 May 2009|