Psychiatric Advice for GPs

Top End mental health services are piloting a new process for providing psychiatric advice to general practitioners (GPs) to improve access for GPs to advice from psychiatrists.

This service will be suitable for any non-acute psychiatric advice that can be provided within a 15-minute phone call or in writing.

Psychiatry phone advice pilot

  • psychiatric advice will be provided to GPs in the Darwin area only, but may be expanded depending on uptake and need
  • 15-minute phone appointments will able to be booked with a Psychiatrist (Monday to Wednesday between 1300 and 1330 hrs)
  • these appointments will be suitable for advice about a single patient at a time
  • this service is not suitable for:
    • acute or crisis advice. If you require emergency care contact the Mental Health Access Team on 1800 682 288
    • patients who require a face-to-face assessment. These patients should be referred to the Mental Health Access Team on 1800 682 288.

Process for accessing psychiatric phone advice

  • Receptionist staff or GP to call Tamarind Centre reception on 8999 4988 to book next available appointment
  • Provide GP name, practice name, and phone number for psychiatrist to call at the time of booking
  • After appointment has been made by phone, GP to provide the following information at least 24 hours prior by email to NTCATT.THS@nt.gov.au or by fax to 08 8999 4999.
  • Information to include in the email/fax:
    • advise that referral is for phone advice
    • GP name and practice details
    • patient name and date of birth
    • current diagnoses
    • current medications
    • a brief description of the nature of the enquiry
  • The GP will be contacted by phone by a psychiatrist at the allocated time.

Psychiatry written advice pilot

  • Referrals for “written advice only” will be responded to within seven days by a psychiatrist.
  • This service is not suitable for:
    • advice that requires a conversation with the psychiatrist. See Psychiatry Phone advice for GPs above.
    • acute or crisis advice. If you require emergency care contact the Mental Health Access Team on 1800 682 288.
    • patients who require a face-to-face assessment. These patients should be referred via the Mental Health Access Team on 1800 682 288.

Process for accessing psychiatric written advice:

  • GP to send referral stating clearly that the referral is for “written advice only” either by email to NTCATT.THS@nt.gov.au or by fax to 08 89994999
  • GP needs to provide an email address or fax number to which the psychiatrist can respond.
  • The referral letter needs to contain sufficient clinical information to allow the psychiatrist to provide a response. ( Referral letters with insufficient information may be returned to the treating GP with a request for further information)
  • The GP needs to clearly state what the question is that the psychiatrist needs to answer.
  • A written response will be provided to the referring GP within seven days.