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GPSI move could lead to deskilling

The growing workforce of GPSIs in mental health could deskill GPs, warns the RCGP.

A higher level of GPSI services could have the 'unintended effect' of threatening the 'interest and core skills' of GPs, the college warned in a position statement on mental health and primary care.

Dr Richard Byng, a member of the RCGP health inequalities standing group and a GPSI in mental health at Plymouth teaching PCT, said: 'If GPSIs start taking on work which GPs as generalists would have been expected to do, then there is a possibility of de-skilling GPs.

'Whereas if you have GPSIs who are bringing a more primary care-centred approach to specialist mental health work then you would hope that would not happen.'

Dr Byng added: 'We need to be mindful that GPSI ser-vices should not undermine the general psychosocial approach that all GPs have to take to a large number of con-sultations.'

The Primary Care Mental Health and Education group agreed it was vital for all GPs to have 'essential psychological competence', as well as GPSIs in mental health.

Primhe chief executive Dr Chris Manning said: 'This is not "either or" ­ it is both.'

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