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17-06-2012 | General practice | Article

Report slams mental illness care

Abstract

London School of Economics: “How mental health loses out in the NHS”

MedWire News: Three-quarters of people suffering from depression or anxiety receive no treatment for it, according to a report out today.

The report, from the London School of Economics (LSE), says that mental illness accounts for 23% of the total burden of disease in the UK, yet it receives only 13% of NHS expenditure - despite the existence of cost-effective treatments.

The authors of How mental health loses out in the NHS, from the LSE's Mental Health Policy Group, include former RCGP Chair Professor Steve Field.

They say that local NHS Commissioners have not been allocating enough budget to Improved Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) to complete the national roll-out of the programme, and call for the expansion of IAPT to continue for a further 3 years after 2013-2014.

In addition, they argue that GPs' training should be changed to include a rotation in an IAPT or Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service team.

RCGP Chair Dr Clare Gerada commented: "We live in a stressful society and the number of patients with mental health problems presenting to GPs is on an upward spiral. GPs face tremendous challenges in caring for patients with mental health problems in primary care and we welcome any development which will help us improve their care."

Dr Gerada applauded the report's recommendations to extend provision of IAPT.

"GPs must have access to a range of talking therapies, from counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy to longer term psychotherapies, for the wide range of conditions that we see in our consulting rooms," she said.

MedWire (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Caroline Price