27 August 2018

Better Access to Mental Health Therapists Promises to 'Radically Change' Care, Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to new guidance from NHS England, which encourages doctors to place mental health therapists in practice surgeries.

She said: "As a profession, GPs are embracing the development of GP-led multi-disciplinary teams, working together in the best interests of patients – and the skills that mental health therapists bring to the general practice team are very welcome.

"It's estimated that 90% of patients with mental health conditions first present in general practice, but many patients are having to wait far too long to access specialist services in the community, that could be of great benefit to them.

"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.

"NHS England's GP Forward View promises that every GP practice in the country will have access to one of 3,000 new mental health therapists by 2020/21. We understand that this is on track, but many GPs are unclear about how to access these new roles and how they will be integrated into general practice, so today’s guidance, which promises greater clarity, is welcome.

"As we strive to deliver parity of esteem between physical and mental health, these roles will be vital to support GPs, who are working under intense pressures, and ensure our patients receive the best possible care they need and deserve."

Further Information
RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
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The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.