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Psychiatric units' GPs boost physical health

The numerous acute and long-standing physical health needs of mental patients could be addressed by employing GPs in psychiatric units, a study suggests.

Dr Sarah Talbot, a GP in west London, worked for 10 months in three acute adult psychiatry wards at Charing Cross Hospital offering weekly three-hour sessions. The 36 clinics were so successful the PCT is now funding the primary care service at the hospital where a new GP is settling in.

Dr Talbot said it was widely known that the physical health of mental patients was 'poorly looked after' but that after the clinics patients reported feeling their health was 'dealt with better'.

She said in many cases it was more appropriate for mental patients, 48 per cent of whom had schizophrenia, to see a GP rather than hospital medic.

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