Out-Patient Care

Out-patient care is provided by our team of more than 50 clinicians.  This includes psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists.

Out-Patient Care

Out-Patient care is where patients only spend time at Cardinal Clinic when they are actually in a one-to-one appointment with their consultant psychiatrist or therapist.  They attend the appointment and then leave.  This is in contrast to in-patient care where the patient spends time as a resident of Cardinal Clinic or Day Care where a patient spends an entire day with us for appointments and group therapy.

Cardinal Clinic has more than 50 clinicians working at the Clinic delivering out-patient care.  This means we can ensure that your care is managed by someone with the skills and experience necessary for the specific condition you are experiencing.

We provide out-patient services to both adults and children.  Our CAMHS unit sees children and adolescent patients up to the age of 18 in a dedicated building.  This is kept separate from the adult in-patients and out-patient facilities.

The out-patient service is appropriate for patients who require a lower level of support than our in-patients or day care patients.  Out-patients may see a clinician as often as weekly, or as infrequently as every three months.

Initially, most patients are seen by a psychiatrist who will oversee the care of the patient and be clinically responsible.  They may prescribe medication or talking therapies as part of the care plan.  Where talking therapies are recommended, the psychiatrist will refer the patient to the psychologist or psychotherapist who will be best placed to provide the required support.  It is common for a patient to continue seeing a therapist and the psychiatrist for the duration of their treatment.

Referrals to Out-Patient Care

Most of our referrals are from a patient’s GP.  We also accept referrals from company occupational health departments or company doctors where a patient is referred under an employee assistance programme.  Please click the link below for full details regarding referrals:

Arranging a Consultation

We can also accept patients who refer themselves for treatment.  We understand the difficultly that some patients have in getting an appointment with an NHS GP and we feel it is important that we can react quickly to all patients who need our support.  However, we would normally expect to liaise closely with a patient’s GP to ensure they are aware of any treatment or care a patient is undergoing.  We may also require information from a patient’s GP regarding the medical history.  This is to ensure we can manage patient care safely and effectively.

It is important to be aware that we may not be able to provide treatment if a patient refuses to allow us to contact their GP.

Appointment Availability

Most of our clinicians do not work exclusively at Cardinal Clinic.  Many of them continue to practice in the NHS or at other clinics.  Consequently, an individual clinician may not be available every day of the week.  Most clinicians are able to offer appointments during the evenings, although availability tends to be more restrictive.  Equally, some clinicians are able to offer weekend appointments.

Generally, most patients are able to see a clinician within 7 to 10 days of being referred.  The exception is our CAMHS team where demand is currently very high.  CAMHS referrals can take as long as three months, currently.

We can provide reminders of appointments you have booked via text message.  If patients would like to receive these, they should let reception know so it can be setup.

Direct Psychology Referrals

Not all patients require a psychiatrist to be involved in their care.  A patient’s GP might refer them directly to a psychologist without involving a psychiatrist.  In this situation, the GP would remain clinically responsible and the psychologist would liaise with the GP on the progress being made.

It is also possible for patients to refer themselves directly to a psychologist.  The psychologist may need to contact the GP about the care being provided, particularly if there was some concern about the effectiveness or patient safety.

For further details of self referrals, please click the link below:

Arranging a Consultation

Arranging Follow Up Appointments

During a consultation, the clinician will recommend the next steps in a patient’s treatment.  Depending on the clinician, a follow up appointment may be agreed during the session or you may be asked to contact the clinician’s secretary to make arrangements.  The patient may be advised how long before they require a follow up appointment or the clinician might recommend that they book an appointment only when they feel it is needed.

For talking therapies, the consultant might recommend a course of therapy lasting a specific length.  For example six monthly sessions.  Alternatively, it might be left more open to allow the therapy to be tailored to the progress being made.

Every patient will receive a personalised care plan specific to their condition and needs.  Consequently there are no ‘fixed rules’ about follow up appointments.  However, if there are ever any concerns about the next steps, it is important that patients make contact with their clinician and ask them.

Liaison With Your GP

Following a patient’s initial assessment, and whenever a clinician feels it is appropriate during their care, clinicians will write to the patient’s GP.  The letter will contain details of the patient’s condition and outline the approach to their care.  Particular reference will be made to any medications prescribed or any physical health conditions that were found during the course of treatment.

A day in the life

If it’s your first time visiting a mental health hospital like the Cardinal Clinic, it can feel a bit daunting not knowing what to expect.

To help put any worries to rest you are welcome to arrange a visit to the clinic before booking your appointment.

woman resting supporting hand on shoulder

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