‘GP practices are for many the first port of call in a crisis’, says Joint Chair of RCGP Scotland

Commenting on the publication of the Scottish Government’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, Workforce Plan and Delivery Plans, Dr Catriona Morton, Deputy Chair of RCGP Scotland, said:

“There is much to welcome in the aspirations contained within these documents, but the College’s concern is that these publications set an unrealistic expectation for the public.

“GPs are overwhelmingly the providers of mental health medical care in the community, caring for people with stress or distress, and almost all those with mild or moderate mental illness, and many with severe and enduring problems too. GP practices are for many the first port of call in a crisis. While the prevalence of mental health conditions is rising, the number of whole time equivalent GPs is falling, and GPs are working well over their limits, and we are not satisfied that these publications recognise nor adequately address this. That the promise of 1,000 more mental health specialists for GP practices by 2026 is not going to be met, further compromises capacity.

“We support a whole systems approach, but we fear the additional workload strain upon general practice that these publications risk is unlikely to result in better services for patients, when the practice landscape is under such intense pressure.”

Further information

Media requests to Angus Gould, Policy and Public Relations Officer RCGP Scotland
Tel: 07808 795493

Notes to editor

RCGP Scotland represents a network of around 5,000 doctors in Scotland aiming to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standard of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on resources, education, training, research and clinical standards.