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Role of the consultant

  1. The CCS employs consultants from a wide range of backgrounds to help in assessing patients and providing cultural expertise. Consultants may include psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, social scientists and lay people with special cultural and linguistic expertise.
  2. The legal responsibility of the consultant depends on their professional status. For health professionals, liability is covered by their own professional liability insurance.
  3. The consultant is acting in collaboration with the CCS team and the final recommendations must reflect the deliberations of the team. The clinical directors will supervise consultations and insure that professional standards are maintained.
  4. The consultant is expected to collect the information needed to formulate the cultural aspects of the case using the outline for cultural formulation as a checklist or guidelines.
  5. Some consultations may involve meeting only with the consultee, clinical team or agency to discuss a case or provide more general information. These meetings should also be summarized in a brief note by the consultant detailing time, place, duration, people in attendance, issues discussed and outcome.
  6. At the time of meeting with the patient, the consultant will obtain informed consent from the patient to be contacted by a research assistant for the evaluation research study.
  7. To respond to the clinical needs of the consultee, the consultant will prepare a brief summary of key recommendations (which may include the need for further evaluation) promptly, and after discussion with the clinical coordinator, pass these along to the consultee in the form of a telephone call, meeting or brief letter.
  8. The consultant will then write up a draft of a comprehensive cultural formulation for the CCS service for discussion at a CCS meeting. Changes and additions arising form this meeting will be incorporated into the final cultural formulation.
  9. All clinical information must be treat with strict confidentiality.
  10. Consultants not covered by Medicare or salary will be paid an honorarium for their work on the case on submission of the final cultural formulation report.

In all cases, consultants should use their best clinical judgment regarding the optimal mental health care for the patient. Although the CCS coordinator tries to determine the appropriateness of a cultural consultation at the time of intake, it is possible in some situations that subsequent information will indicate to the consultant that some other form of intervention (or non-intervention) would be better for the patient. If so, then this should be the recommendation.