Society-wide approach needed to achieve parity of esteem between mental and physical health, says College

Publication date: 31 August 2017

Responding to NHS Digital figures on mental health related fit notes, Dr Steve Mowle, Honorary Treasurer for the Royal College of GPs, said:

"Mental health related issues are making up an increasing amount of the GP caseload, so these figures are not surprising. They might possibly indicate a positive move towards greater awareness and reduced stigma of mental health in society – with people being more open and willing to discuss their mental health conditions.

"We know that working is beneficial for our patients' long term physical and mental health and wellbeing, and we need a society-wide approach, including involvement from employers, to put measures in place to get people back into work, where possible, safely and appropriately.

"However, we still have a long way to go before mental health has parity of esteem with physical illness. Achieving this is a clinical priority for the RCGP, and we are pushing for GPs to have easier, better access to more, and a greater variety of, mental health therapies in the community for their patients to reduce waiting times and ensure they get the care they need.

"NHS England's GP Forward View includes a pledge for every GP practice to have access to at least one of 3,000 more dedicated mental health therapists in the community. We need this and its other commitments  – including 5,000 more GPs – to be delivered as a matter of urgency."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 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.

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