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28-03-2011 | General practice | Article

Mental health panel launched


Joint Commissioning Panel for Mental Health

A new Joint Commissioning Panel for Mental Health has been launched by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) in collaboration with other organisations, in response to concerns over future commissioning of mental health services under the government's planned reforms.

A recent survey highlighted that less than a third of GPs feel equipped to take on commissioning mental health services, compared with three-quarters for diabetes and asthma.

The Panel, which also involves the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, the NHS Confederation, Rethink Mental Illness and Mind, has published the first of a series of framework documents, giving GP pathfinder consortia, local authorities and Primary Care Trusts practical guidance for the transition to GP-led commissioning.

The framework covers all tiers of the mental health system, as well as population mental health and the links between mental and physical wellbeing - in the context of new policies shifting the responsibility onto individuals and local government and increasing patient choice and personalisation of assessment and services.

Professor Helen Lester, Commissioning Lead for Mental Health at the RCGP and co-chair of the Panel, said: "As a GP myself, I know that many of my colleagues have great expertise in working with patients with mental health problems.

"However, commissioning services for mental health will be challenging for many. Producing these briefings, and sharing the knowledge and experience within mental health, will be invaluable in ensuring that people have the best possible mental health outcomes."

GP News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Caroline Price