Primary Care Mental Health Service rolls out across county

A mental health service in which patients can access specialist advice and support in their own GP surgery has now rolled out to all practices in the county.

Primary Care Mental Health Service rolls out across county
16 April 2018

A mental health service in which patients can access specialist advice and support in their own GP surgery has now rolled out to all practices in the county.

Patients who have moderate to severe mental health conditions can access the Primary Care Mental Health Service, run by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Trust (CPFT), in their own surgery, resulting in shorter waiting times and being seen in an environment they are familiar with.

Ree Wood, Primary Care Mental Health Service Manager, said: “This service came about because of the ever-increasing demand for our services that has resulted in a widening gap between primary and secondary care. GPs also spend a huge proportion of their time with mental health patients. Some of these patients need support with conditions such as severe anxiety or depression, or they may have just come out of an inpatient ward and need help.

“Our Primary Care Mental Health Service is run and supported
by specialist mental health practitioners, peer support workers
and social care colleagues. Between them, they can support the patients with assessment and onward referral, triage or sign-posting. If a patient is struggling with their mental health, all they need to do is see their GP, who can discuss whether the new service would be suitable for them.

“We finally rolled out to all GP surgeries at the end of last year, following a pilot in some Huntingdon practices. The feedback from GPs and their practice staff has been extremely positive so far. We know locally that a large proportion of adults with mental health illness are supported in primary care. Having the service in your GP surgery means not only is it helping those who visit their GP for the first time with a mental health illness; the service can help those people with longer-term mental health needs to manage their illness.”

The Primary Care Mental Health Service is aimed at those people with moderate to severe mental health conditions, as a support to services that the GP already provides. Many patients will continue to simply see their GP with the new service available if the GP needs this: Patients should see their GP to discuss what is the next best step for them and can’t self-refer to the service.

Ree added: “We are looking at expanding the service further to offer short interventions, physical health checks, pharmacy advice and support, more integration with social care and third-sector organisations, and consultant psychiatrists embedded within teams. As the service grows, patients will be better supported with their mental health in primary care, and GPs will feel better supported in helping those patients.”

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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