Western Australian general practitioners' views on psychologists and the determinants of patient referral: An exploratory study
American Psychological Association
Computing, Health and Science
Psychology and Social Science
General practitioners (GPs) in Australia typically do not refer clients to mental health care providers. Few systematic and referenced studies of the reasons for this lack of collaboration have been identified. The current research addresses this gap by investigating GPs' views on psychologists and the factors that determine patient referral. The research used a qualitative design consisting of semistructured in-depth interviews that were tape recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analyzed. Participants were 12 Western Australian GPs from the Perth metropolitan area. The main findings were that GPs were satisfied with psychologists' capabilities but not their professional communications and were overwhelmingly dissatisfied with a mental health system that does not readily provide funding for patients in need of mental health care services. The findings suggest that GPs would like health care policies to be more inclusive of psychological services and are interested in collaborating with psychologists for better patient outcomes. Directions for further research are discussed.