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Psychiatry, liaison psychiatry, and psychological medicine 

Psychiatry, liaison psychiatry, and psychological medicine
Psychiatry, liaison psychiatry, and psychological medicine

Michael Sharpe

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date: 27 February 2021

Psychiatry first developed as a separate medical specialty about 150 years ago when physicians were recruited to staff the new lunatic asylums. It later embraced psychotherapy and more recently has adopted community rather than hospital-based working. The fact that psychiatry remains largely separate from other areas of medicine, together with the increasing focus on technical procedures in medicine, has led to sometimes inadequate psychiatric care for medical patients. Measures to address this shortcoming began 50 years ago with the ad hoc development of liaison psychiatry teams, providing in-reach psychiatric services from mental hospitals to general hospitals. A more recent innovation is to reintegrate psychiatrists into medical teams as specialists in psychological medicine to provide joined up medical and psychiatric care.

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