Liaison Psychiatry Service

Adults (age 17 to 64) and Substance misuse

Liaison Psychiatry Service
Box: 190
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Tel: 01223 216167

Monday to Friday: 0900 to 1700
Out of hours: Answer machine

"No health without mental health"

  • Physical illness can result in profound social and emotional consequences impacting on mental health.
  • More than one-quarter of general hospital patients have a mental disorder.
  • Mental ill health impedes recovery from physical illness and may increase mortality rates. For example, the risk of depressed patients with coronary heart disease dying in the 2-years after initial assessment is twice as high as it is for non-depressed patients.
  • Mental disorders are often unrecognised in patients with physical illness. Over half of all cases of depression in the general hospital setting go unrecognised. Increased length of stay or unnecessary admissions is associated with poor management of alcohol withdrawal states in the general hospital

What is Liaison Psychiatry?

Liaison Psychiatry is a sub-specialty that provides psychiatric treatment to patients attending general hospitals. Therefore it deals with the interface between physical and psychological health.

Who are we?

We are a specialist team of mental health professionals-doctors (psychiatrists), nurses, social workers and administrative staff - who are based at Addenbrooke's Hospital.

What do we do?

Who is the service for?

Adults, normally of working age (17 to 64), with the full range of mental health problems that are either inpatients or have been referred to our specialists OPD service by our Addenbrooke’s medical colleagues. There are four groups of people who normally benefit with our input:

  • People with physical disorders which have impacted on their mental well-being or are causing emotional distress. 
  • People with time limited mental disorders such as adjustment disorders, anxiety disorders, depression or acute confusional states. Timely brief interventions can improve health outcomes and reduce length of stay. 
  • People with physical disorders as a result of alcohol or substance misuse. 
  • People with longer term conditions associated with risk including: 
    • Severe enduring mental disorders such schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. 
    • Longer term disorders of lesser mental severity but associated with high general medical services utilisation as a result of abnormal illness behaviour such as medically unexplained symptoms. 
    • Severe personality disorders where continued contact and support has been shown to be of benefit. 
    • Mental disorders associated with significant risk of self-harm or harm to others or where level of support required exceeds that which can normally be provided by a primary care team. 
    • Disorders requiring specialist or intensive treatments not ordinarily available in primary care e.g. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or Cognitive Analytical Therapy. 
    • Complex management problems requiring interventions under the Mental Health Act (2007) or Mental Capacity Act (2005)

An "excellent" service – PLAN accreditation

The Psychiatric Liaison Accreditation Network is run by the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Centre for Quality Improvement (CCQI).

PLAN is open to all liaison psychiatry services in the UK and Ireland. Its aim is to support services to continually improve and develop, at a suitable pace. 17 services in the UK signed up to the first cycle of accreditation.

We are proud to announce that we are one of only 5 services in the UK and Ireland who have achieved an "Excellent" rating in this accreditation process. This would not have been possible without the tremendous support we received from our colleagues and patients – so a very big “Thank You” to all.

Services for other age groups and out of hours

Older People Mental Health Service – age 65 and above

Monday to Friday: 0900 to 1700
Tel: 01223 218 890


CAMHS - up to age 16

Monday to Friday: 0900 to 1700
Tel: 01223 746 001


Out of hours

Duty Psychiatrist via switchboard: 01223 245 151

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