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CAMHS won't see you now

Welcome to the latest round of What GPs are Crap At

Dr Pete Deveson

Welcome, friends, to another edition of What Are GPs Crap At This Week? Referring cancers too late, you say? No, that was last time.

Today we’re referring to CAMHS too early, according to a new report from a think tank called Localis. The report says 60% of GP referrals to CAMHS are inappropriate, which sounds shocking till you discover that the sole reference for that remarkable claim turns out to be… er… this Pulse article about how CAMHS keep bouncing loads of dangerously sick kids back to their GPs.

Bravo, Localis. I can’t wait for your next report. ‘We’ve discovered nearly 100% of lung cancer patients have previously been advised by their doctor to quit smoking, and urge GPs to stop giving this clearly dangerous health advice.’ Or maybe: ‘55% of people die in hospitals – AVOID THEM AT ALL COSTS.’

Heaven forfend that they might consider widening the notoriously narrow balistraria that constitutes the CAMHS therapeutic window

No, this one is All Your Fault. And the proposed solution, as usual, is not giving us more time, or more bloody GPs, but more training. The classic PR trick of drawing attention to your hobby horse special interest by putting a dunce cap on GPs may have become a cliché, but boy is it tiresome. There’s something uniquely dispiriting about having spent over a decade hitting the books only to find you’ve joined a profession which is constantly castigated for its ignorance.

And we’re only set to get dumber, as Health Education England have cut their running costs for GP education by a third, to free up cash to churn out more physician associates. I know, it seems weird to be spending our money on the equivalent of the Springfield Monorail when Main Street’s still all cracked and broken, but what can you do?

What you can do, if you’re so inclined, is support Ramesh Mehay’s Bradford VTS site. If you’ve either undergone or delivered GP training in the last 15 years you’re probably aware of this frequently-lifesaving and totally free online library, which is a kind of Hitchhiker’s Guide to Educationalist Mumbo-Jumbo that’s helped drag many a trainee through the baffling MRCGP process. It gets 46,000 hits a month, so of course HEE have pulled its budget, leaving its creator forced to rely on crowdfunding. So chuck some love Ramesh’s way if you can, and help fight the good fight against GP ignorance. Until next week, at least.

Dr Pete Deveson is a GP in Surrey. You can follow him on Twitter @PeteDeveson


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Readers' comments (3)

  • Liam Booth-Smith of Localis has pointed out to me a section in the report that explains their use of the word appropriate:

    "Note on terminology

    Throughout the report, we highlight referrals that have not met thresholds as ‘inappropriate’. This is not a value judgement on the ability of or concern noted by professionals referring young people onto CAMHS. We have simply chosen terminology that is already in common usage when highlighting referrals that have not met service thresholds."

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  • Just shows how there are an ever increasing number of sticks to beat us with. No requirement to provide an alternative service, just come up with some unilateral guideline and beat us up for non-compliance. GPs are ideally placed to jump ship and leave the politicians to sort out the mess.

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  • We are not stupid. It is not possible to undo years of parenting leading to behavioural problems in a 10 min consult. In an era of sky high expectation, we have 2 options. 1) dismiss the problem 2) refer to CAMS.

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