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GPs protest at call to take on care of high-risk patients

GPs in Manchester have accused psychiatrists of trying to saddle them with high-risk mental health patients to cover for a consultant vacancy.

Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust wrote to the LMC saying consultant teams would not be offering routine outpatient appointments or attending the majority of Care Programme Approach (CPA) meetings.

The letter said it 'was expected GPs will provide medical input as agreed in PCT protocols' at CPA meetings.

Manchester LMC secretary Dr Peter Fink said the protocols were for mild to moderate mental illness and GPs were not obliged to attend meetings.

'There are concerns that responsibility for people with serious mental illness is being put inappropriately on to GPs,' he said.

'These guidelines are for managing people with mild to moderate mental illness ­ it's not a substitute for having highly specialist medical staff.'

The mental health trust has apologised for the 'badly worded letter, but admitted it has reduced urgent appointment slots and not all CPA meetings will be attended by psychiatrists.

Medical director Dr Frank Margison said: 'It was intended to reassure nursing staff that there are protocols in place. We have a substantial financial problem and this is just a temporary expedient.'

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