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Open Access Technical advance

What do patients want from their psychiatrist? A cross- sectional questionnaire based exploratory study from Karachi

Roomasa Channa1 and MN Siddiqi2*

Author Affiliations

1 Medical College Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan

2 Department of Psychiatry Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan

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BMC Psychiatry 2008, 8:14  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-8-14

Published: 29 February 2008



The aspects of consultation that are important for psychiatric patients have always remained a less acknowledged area. The aim of this study was to identify these aspects.


A Cross-sectional, questionnaire based study was carried out in a psychiatry outpatient clinic of two tertiary care hospitals in a developing country. The patients were asked to fill out the questionnaire containing a total of 11 close-ended questions plus 1 open-ended question. They graded them as not important, important, very important or do not know. Non-psychotic patients aged 18 and above, visiting the clinic were recruited into the study before they went in for their first consultation.


The response rate of patients was 84%. More than 90% wanted the doctor to tell them the cause of their illness, talk to them about their condition, provide symptomatic relief, let them know that how long their illness would last and make the final decision about their treatment plan. Less than 20% wanted to be part of a support network. A significant 82% wanted talking therapy as part of their treatment plan.


The three issues, most important for patients were: the doctor should listen to them, make the final decision about treatment and provide symptomatic relief. Only 20% wanted to be a part of patients' support group.