Medical magazine Pulse has today published the results of a survey of 500 GPs which highlights their concerns about overstretched local mental health services. 82 per cent believe their local Community Mental Health team is unable to cope and worryingly, a fifth of GPs say that they have had a patient come to harm as a result of not being able to get appropriate psychiatric care.
Geoff Heyes, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Mind, said:
“It’s unacceptable but not surprising that 1 in 5 GPs say they have seen patients come to harm because of delays to, or a lack of, mental health services. People with mental health problems can recover, but early intervention is vital. If the Government is serious about giving as much importance to mental health as it does physical health, we urgently need to see more funding for mental health services.
“The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme has helped many more people access talking therapy, but we know that, in some parts of the country, people are still waiting too long. Recent research carried out by Mind as part of the ‘We Need to Talk’ coalition found that one in ten people had to wait over a year to access talking therapy, and often the range of treatments offered was very limited. Having to wait a long time for treatment can cause a whole range of problems, impacting relationships, preventing people working, and even leading to crisis.”
Last night one of Mind’s media volunteers Andrew appeared on ITV news explaining the challenges that he faced in accessing timely and appropriate support.