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Fewer than half of GPs are training in mental health setting

Fewer than half of GP trainees have undertaken a mental health training placement, an investigation has shown.

Mental health charity Mind is concerned about figures it found via an FOI request to Health Education England and the Welsh Deanery, which revealed that only 46% of GP trainees chose a mental health-related training placement.

It also found that the only mental health-related training option offered to trainee GPs was in hospital-based psychiatry and focused on secondary care, rather than primary care settings.

This comes as 81% of people with mental health problems first come into contact with mental health services through their GP, with 90% of people receiving mental health treatment exclusively in primary care settings, the charity pointed out.

The report also says that although GPs are required to undertake ongoing CPD, none of the hours need to have a mental health component.

But RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said mental health is ’a key component of the RCGP training curriculum that all GP trainees must follow and demonstrate their competence in before they can practise independently as family doctors in the UK’.

She added: ’We have been making the case for some time that specialist GP training should be extended from three to four years in order to focus more time on mental health, and child health, reflecting the changing GP caseload and the increasing number of patients who are presenting with mental health issues.

’We hope that today’s call from Mind will help strengthen our case.’