09 January 2017

Urgent Action Needed to Make Aspirations for Mental Health Care a Reality, Says RCGP

Responding to Prime Minister Theresa May's speech on mental health services today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“It’s encouraging to see mental health, particularly that of our children and young patients, being taken seriously by the Prime Minister. A lot needs to be done, and urgently, to make these aspirations a reality and make genuine progress towards parity of esteem between mental and physical health.

“Whilst initiatives like ‘crisis cafes’ and community clinics, which allow patients to self refer, are certainly an encouraging step in the right direction to achieving this, the essential role of general practice must also be recognised in these plans. GPs and our teams are often the first port of call for patients with mental health problems, and it is vital we have access to the appropriate resources and services in the community.

“We particularly welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement of a review of child and adolescent health services in the community, which are currently under severe strain. And greater links between the health and education sectors will certainly be beneficial in helping to identify mental health conditions in young patients earlier, in many cases before they seek medical assistance of their own volition.

“There is a long way to go, but what we are hearing today is a positive step as we strive towards giving mental health the recognition it deserves across society. The government must now implement the pledge made in NHS England’s GP Forward View, to give every GP practice access to a specialist mental health worker, as a matter of urgency.

“Mental health is an enduring priority for the RCGP and we have developed resources to support GPs and our teams deliver the best possible care for our patients with mental health problems.”

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659


The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 50,000 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.