The authors conducted a study of the rate of utilization of psychiatric consultation by various services at two general hospitals. The study found that the rehabilitation and plastic surgery services had the highest ratio of consultations to admissions. Depression was the most frequent reason cited in staff requests for psychiatric consultation. Male patients were overrepresented among the consultees in proportion to their number in the total general hospital census. The authors conclude that appropriate psychiatric consultation can enable the majority of patients with psychiatric problems to be maintained on the wards to which they were admitted, and that psychiatric liaison staff should be trained in a variety of consulting roles.