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Independents' Day

GPs to train alongside psychiatrists under RCGP four-year training plan

GP trainees should train alongside child health specialists and psychiatrists in order to improve their management of mental health conditions in younger people, says the RCGP.

The RCGP said the ‘vast majority’ of NHS care for children and young people is delivered by GPs and proposed that under plans to extend training from three to four years trainees should be required to undertake additional training in the management of mental health conditions in this age group.

Currently fewer than half of GPs take part in paediatric or psychiatry training placement during their training – a key reason the RCGP pushed for an extension to GP training.

The plans come after chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies singled out better training of GPs in paediatrics and child mental health as a key priority for improving the health of the nation’s children.

RCGP Chair Dr Maureen Baker said: ‘The RCGP is proposing that there should be increased focus on equipping GPs to deal with the common mental health problems faced by younger people – this includes improving mental resilience, managing anxiety, depression and self-harm, identifying suicide risk and in the early recognition of psychosis.

‘The College is therefore recommending that in future, as part of an enhanced four-year training programme, all GP trainees should receive specialist-led training in both child health and mental health.

‘The RCGP is also working with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and Young Minds to develop ways that GPs and specialists might train together and so work more effectively when caring for young people with mental health problems and has set up a series of meetings to take this forward.’

Readers' comments (9)

  • there is no need to extend training and this is just an excuse to get more trainees to cover unpopular hospital posts. unfortunately imgs tend to suffer the most with putting in all the hard work passing all their hospital posts and then being failed by the dubious CSA. Everyone needs to think hard before entering into General Practice.

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  • "The RCGP is proposing that there should be increased focus on equipping GPs to deal with the common mental health problems faced by younger people"

    This isn't what the NICE guidance says on depression in young people. Is the RCGP suggesting we ignore NICE guidance (in which case they should publically disown NICE guidance)or have they simply not read the guidance?

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  • Vinci Ho

    I think we should keep an open mind in this BUT the training on these areas should be practical and relevant to the everyday job of most GPs. Of course , longer training may not be welcome by some . Still we have to realise the nature of the job is completely different from say 20 years ago ........
    Yes. I agree to think twice before joining general practice these days........

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  • This is a cop out! There needs to be an integrated service to cope with this increasing need being caused by a breakdown in society. This needs to be prevented not just making GPs pick up the pieces and take the blame and responsibility when with inadequate support, the inevitable happens: a teenage patient kills themselves whilst under our care. The implications of this will be court appearances, suspensions GMC referrals increasing strain on GPs. We cannot take responsibility for the ills of society !

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  • What about Dermatology, ENT..........

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  • I am just coming to the end of my training in a 4 year programme in Scotland (yup, we have had them for ages). Prior to GPSt i was a trainee in psychiatry. I would say that many of my fellow trainees lack a lot of confidence when it comes to mental health issues but i am really not sure that making 6 months psych compulsory is the right way to go. Most Gp trainees i came across when i was a psych trainee didnt want to be there in the forst place, were generally given the posts not filled by a psych trainee and were certainly not given the opportunity to do the more "useful" end of psychiatry for a GP eg liaison. Thye took a poor second place to the psych trainees and i cant see that this would change in any way other than giving the hospitals ways to staff posts no one else wanted. Even the proposal for paediatric training is flawed. I did 6 months in paeds and thought it would be great experience for GP but I was basically left doing neonatology/NICU and learned very little of use as a Gp.
    I agree that trianing elsewhere does need to be extended but not with this!

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  • My GP is far netter at dealing with mental health issues than psychiatrists that have years of experience under their belt.

    The only guarantee you get when you see a psychiatrist is that you will come out with a prescription but no support, help, advice!

    Perhaps we should do away with psychiatric training and make the psychiatrists become GP's, but many folk choose psychiatry because there is no real accountability.
    In psychiatry, If a patient doesn't get better it is because the patient is not taking their medication. GPs have to tick boxes and fill in bits of paper to justify their salary.
    GP's look after the 'whole patient' not just mental health, psychiatrists haven't got a clue about physical health issues and how they impact on mental health.
    They have got this training issue the wrong way around, make psychiatrists become GPs with a speciality in psychiatry, just as some GP's do extra training for extra qualifications.

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  • We should 6 months training in every speciality - than work 5 years and take our pension........

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  • I think the bigger problem is the dearth of specialist mental health services for children and adolescents. Yes, training for GPs would be helpful, but that doesn't mean that we will be able to deliver the time consuming interventions that are often needed. We can't pick up all the pieces left by underfunded secondary care.

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