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'Quality framework neglects depression'

Patients with depression could miss out on improvements in GP mental health care because the definition of mental illness in the quality and outcomes framework is too restrictive, claims the RCGP.

Dr Alan Cohen, a GP in south London and RCGP mental health spokesman, said practice registers of 'serious long-term mental illness' ­ as specified by the quality framework ­ should be limited to patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Including patients with depression could stigmatise them, he warned. 'A register of people with severe mental illness could have significant benefits,' he said. 'But the way the contract is written may seriously limit the benefits.'

He urged GPs to push for local enhanced services to meet the needs of patients with depression.

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