'Mental health therapists' to be placed in GP practices

NHS England is drawing up plans to encourage GP surgeries to employ 'mental health therapists'.

Health chiefs have drawn up new guidelines to encourage doctors to place mental health therapists in practice surgeries – with the aim of bringing more mental and physical health services under one roof.

The changes will go some way towards meeting the Government target of increasing the number of mental health workers by 2021.

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These new therapists will be integrated into primary care teams and focus on common mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, particularly where this occurs in patients with a long-term physical health condition such as diabetes, respiratory or heart problems.

9 out of 10 adults.

Evidence suggests nine out of 10 adults with mental health problems are supported in primary care and broadening the range of services for patients, means local health services are better equipped to deal with patients’ physical and mental health needs.

NHS England claims that this closer way of working will improve attendance rates and reduce the perception of stigma associated with having a mental health problem.

3,000 therapists in Primary Care.

Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s national director for mental health said: “Joining up talking therapy services in primary care settings is another big step forward for our patients and a key plank in putting mental health at the centre of the long-term plan for the NHS. We are on track to deliver 3,000 therapists in primary care, with over 800 in surgeries at the end of last year and this handy guidance should convince those practices that are yet to take the plunge of the benefits.”

Dr Nikita Kanani, NHS England’s acting director of primary care, said: “General practice is the front door of the NHS. We continue to support the expansion of the workforce so patients have access to a range of different health professionals so that we can better support both their physical and mental health needs.”

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