'Only one in seven GPs has sufficient access to mental health staff'

A survey of GPs also found just 13% have sufficient access to urgent care while 29% said the sme as pharmacy staff.

Only one in seven GPs has sufficient access to mental health staff in Scotland’s NHS, survey finds PA Media

A survey of GPs found only 14% felt they had sufficient access to mental health practitioners.

The study of GPs was carried out in the year running up to November 2022 and received 804 responses.

The GPs were asked about what types of other professionals their practices had access to over the past three years.

Just 14% said they had sufficient access to mental health practitioners, while 13% said the same of urgent care staff and 29% said the same of pharmacy staff.

The survey assessed the first three years of reform that was carried out through the General Medical Services 2018 contract.

The Scottish Lib Dems accused the Scottish Government of breaking its commitments.

Party leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “My party worked so hard to persuade the Government of the importance of putting mental health practitioners into surgeries in every corner of Scotland.

“GPs were promised new colleagues to help lessen the load and improve the mental health care available.

“But, with Humza Yousaf as Health Secretary, the Government actually hit pause on its pledge to train and hire more staff. £50m was cut from mental health last winter.

“And the Royal College of GPs say commitments to expand local teams in the remainder of this Parliament won’t be met.”

He added: “Scotland needs world-class mental health services.

“The health secretary has already broken his personal commitment to everyone waiting for help to clear mental health waiting lists.

“Why is he now breaking his commitments to GPs too?”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “While this survey has found evidence of some easing of GP workloads through the support of multi-disciplinary teams, which include mental health professionals, we are continuing to invest in this important area.

“We have already prioritised investment to build mental health capacity in primary care; more than 600 additional mental health workers have been recruited to GP practices under the previous Mental Health Strategy and the Primary Care Improvement Fund. We have allocated more than £107m since 2018 to enable recruitment, as part of that Mental Health Strategy.

“We’re determined to go further and will continue to work with the NHS to grow the workforce and seek improvements in support, assessment and treatment in primary care settings, as set out in our recently published delivery plan.”Show less

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