GPs urged to bring mental health therapy services into practices

Guidance published by NHS England sets out why GP practices should bring mental health therapists into practices.

NHS England set out plans to locate 3,000 mental health therapists in primary care in the GP Forward View, published in April 2016.

Officials say 800 of these staff are now based in GP practices, and that the health service is 'on track' to hit its Forward View target.

Guidance published on Monday says practices should incorporate mental health therapists into their practice teams, with GPs and other healthcare staff able to refer patients to them, and patients given the chance to refer themselves to the therapists.

Mental health

Practices are encouraged to involve mental health therapists in practice meetings and to use their knowledge to incorporate mental health into all clinical work.

NHS England says that with nine in 10 patients with mental health problems being supported in primary care, practices working closer with mental health therapists can reduce hospital and community referrals.

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey told GPonline that most practices were keen to see expanded clinical teams, not just bringing mental health staff into the wider practice team, but also pharmacists, midwives, drug workers and other staff.

However, he warned that many lacked the space to bring these staff into their practices. These practices would need help from their local CCG - through investment in premises, but also in co-ordinating sharing of staff across networks of practices in local areas.

Practice team

'Many practices will not have space to expand their practice team,' he said. 'Having these staff in your building makes them feel like part of the team and helps to build a good relationship. Local practices can find different solutions, working together - maybe one prac hosts a mental health therapist, one hosts a pharmacist.'

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: 'Having ready access to specially-trained mental health therapists in primary care, who are integrated into the general practice team, has the power to radically change how we’re able to deliver care to our patients, and hopefully improve outcomes for patients with mental health conditions.'

Dr Nikita Kanani, NHS England’s acting director of primary care, said: 'General practice is the front door of the NHS. We continue to support the expansion of the workforce so patients have access to a range of different health professionals so that we can better support both their physical and mental health needs.'

A scheme in Cambridge and Peterborough has found that improved access to mental health care for people with diabetes, cardiovascular or respiratory illnesses has reduced inpatient hospital attendance and A&E admissions and cut NHS costs.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Identifying patients experiencing domestic violence and abuse in general practice

Identifying patients experiencing domestic violence and abuse in general practice

Dr Vasumathy Sivarajasingam describes a pilot project in her practice that used a...

Long COVID could ‘wreak havoc’ on NHS workforce and disrupt vaccine rollout

Long COVID could ‘wreak havoc’ on NHS workforce and disrupt vaccine rollout

High rates of COVID-19 infection and the impact of long COVID could 'wreak havoc'...

GPs can give COVID and flu jabs at same time, says NHS England

GPs can give COVID and flu jabs at same time, says NHS England

GPs can now administer COVID-19 and flu jabs at the same time, according to updated...

Areas hit hardest by COVID-19 fall behind on vaccine campaign

Areas hit hardest by COVID-19 fall behind on vaccine campaign

Regions of England hit hardest by COVID-19 cases have fallen behind the rest of the...

COVID-19 pandemic drives first recorded dip in patients registered with GPs

COVID-19 pandemic drives first recorded dip in patients registered with GPs

A rise in deaths and reduced immigration during the COVID-19 pandemic saw the first-ever...

GP trainee placements delayed as COVID-19 surge hits junior doctor rotations in London

GP trainee placements delayed as COVID-19 surge hits junior doctor rotations in London

Planned rotations of junior doctors in London - including GP trainees - have been...