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CAMHS won't see you now

Anger at diagnostic skill slur

GPs could be instructed to refer some patients wanting sick-notes to cognitive behaviour therapists as part of Government plans to cut the number of incapacity benefit claimants.

Margaret Hodge, Welfare Minister, said patients who ask-ed GPs for sicknotes due to stress through work problems could be referred to an employment adviser, while those whose absence stemmed from mental health problems would get cognitive behaviour therapy.

But GPs scorned the proposal, arguing waiting lists for CBT were already a minimum of one-and-a-half years.

Dr Steven Harris, a GP in north London and CBT practitioner, said: 'It is the best therapy around, it's evidence based and recognised by NICE, but there isn't anyone to do it.'

Dr David Kessler, a GP in Bristol with an interest in CBT, said there was no evidence it was a cure for unemployment.

He added: 'We don't have the provision in primary care to refer, we can't offer it ourselves and secondary care can't help us to get CBT to the number of patients we are seeing with common mental disorders.'

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