‘Mental health care is a priority for GPs’ says College responding to Telegraph article

The College has responded to an article in The Telegraph on falling numbers of counselling referrals.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Ensuring patients receive the most appropriate mental health care is a priority for GPs and our teams, and there has been a notable increase in patients presenting with mental health conditions throughout the pandemic.

"When developing a treatment plan for patients with mental health conditions, GPs will consider a variety of options based on the patient's individual circumstances and in conversation with them. Referrals to mental health services, such as IAPTs, in many cases may not be made by GPs themselves. Many areas, for example, have systems of self-referral access to IAPTs services, which may or may not follow a consultation with a GP, but wouldn't be recorded as a GP referral.

"We do need to ensure that any patient who needs it is able to access specialist mental health support in the community, but we know that provision is patchy across the country. We would also like to see more mental health therapists working in primary care.

“General practice is working hard to manage the intense demand for care. Last year, an unprecedented 367m appointments were delivered in general practice, this includes over 34 million consultations delivered last November alone, the highest monthly figure on record.

“We urgently need to see government make good on their manifesto pledge of an additional 6,000 GPs and 26,000 members of the wider practice team by 2024.”

Further information

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RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

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.