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Demands for QOF to expand GP screening for depression

GPs should screen for depression in many more conditions than just coronary heart disease or diabetes, mental health charities are demanding.

The Depression Alliance and SANE together insisted extra targets should be included in the quality and outcomes framework to address 'considerable' gaps in the care of people with depression.

A survey commissioned by the charities found there were 'many inadequacies in the

diagnosis and management of depression that revisions in the contract could address'.

More than a third of patients said their diagnosis had not been made soon enough, and 41 per cent felt their GP had not adequately discussed different treatment options.

Both charities have made submissions to NHS Employers, recommending the GP contract increase the range of diseases screened for depression to include COPD, chronic migraine, high blood pressure, angina and stroke.

They also requested regular appointments for patients on antidepressants and indicators showing a GP had offered a range of treatments, explored patient wishes on access to services and given information.

Margaret Edwards, head of strategy at SANE, said: 'The key is earliest possible diagnosis, ongoing management of the condition and involving the patient in decisions about care.'

Professor Andre Tylee, professor of primary care mental health at Kings College London and patron of Depression Alliance, said: 'Current indicators do not go far enough to provide effective ongoing care.'

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