Doctors rate mental health care as ‘poor’

Doctors rate mental health care as ‘poor’

By Liz Lockhart

The insurance giant ‘Aviva’ has just revealed the findings of a recent survey which they commissioned.  It suggests that more than half of the GPs surveyed feel that the quality of NHS care for patients with mental health disorders is ‘poor’.

The poll was conducted in May and involved the opinions of 208 GPs.  It found that 58% of GPs rate the care for mental health patients as poor whilst 52% cite the lack of support or patients with mental health issues as their prime concern. 

A massive 45% believe that the biggest health issue that they treat in 2011 will be mental health disorder.

In the survey more than a quarter of GPs say that the lack of access to support services in their area makes it hard to help individuals with mental health problems. The exact figure for this is 26%.

Over a third of GPs admit to prescribing anti-depressants as a ‘quick ix’ solution for patients who face a long wait for other forms of treatment (35%).

The reliance on drugs as a ‘catch-all’ solution should be much lower according to 41% of GPs.  However, a considerable proportion of GPs feel that patients, quite mistakenly, feel that there is a ‘cure-all’ pill for mental conditions (28%).

Thirty eight per cent feel that mental health is a social issue rather than a medical one.  The same amount of GPs find it difficult to treat patients with mental health issues as they cannot treat the root cause of the problem.

More than half the GPs surveyed (55%) feel that they need more support from employers to help prevent workplace stress.

The Government has committed to investing £400m by 2015 in expanding access to psychological therapies to ensure that every adult with anxiety or depression will be able to get treatment.

With mental ill-health being the single largest cause of disability in the UK and representing 11% of England’s annual secondary care health budget this must be money well spent.  

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