Cash shortage puts brake on progress

Primary care mental health services in London are improving but
they continue to be plagued by problems with funding and
recruitment, claims a report out this week.

The survey of London GP practices shows that 42 per cent of doctors
thought mental health services had improved in the past three to
five years.

However, nearly one-third thought they had deteriorated.

Nearly half said communication and liaison between primary care and
specialist mental health services was better than three to five
years ago, with 28 per cent believing it to be worse.

The consensus was that, although the National Service Framework for
Mental Health had focused more attention on developing services,
most of the work had been aimed at people with severe mental

This had resulted “in slow progress for the 90 per cent of patients
with mental health problems who are managed entirely within primary

Report author Rebecca Rosen said: “The problem is that primary care
trusts lack funding to develop mental health services so they tend
to focus too much on people with severe mental illness rather than
on primary care mental health.”

The King’s Fund report also shows that one-third of practices had
organised some kind of in-house training on mental health.

It recommends that each trust should appoint a primary care mental
health champion to lead developments in general practice, and that
more funds for mental health development be identified at a
national level.

– Mental Health Services in Primary Care from 

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