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Psychiatric disorders and referral obligations

Ian R Freckelton and George Mendelson
Med J Aust 2011; 195 (2): 60-61.
Published online: 18 July 2011

The difficulties of knowing when, and to whom, to refer patients with a mental disorder

Recognising one’s clinical limitations and the need for them to be augmented by others’ specialised knowledge and experience is a key component of professional reflectiveness and humility. Referring a patient to a specialist should never be experienced as a reflection of inadequacy or as a slight upon the quality of one’s care. It is an opportunity to provide enhanced treatment and to draw collaboratively upon the specialisation and wisdom of a respected colleague.1 It is also an important ethical obligation.2

  • Ian R Freckelton1,2,3,4
  • George Mendelson3

  • 1 Crockett Chambers, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Monash Law School, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 School of Psychology and Psychiatry, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 4 Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.


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