GPs and other staff working in primary care are being asked to take part in a public consultation on the skills needed to respond to patients with mental health needs.
The update to the national Mental Health Core Capabilities Framework first published in 2016, is intended to better set out the skills needed by and range of people and services across different organisations.
With a growing national demand for mental health services, the goal is to identify what skills are needed to build capacity and respond more quickly across health, social care, voluntary and community sectors, said Skills for Health who are leading the consultation.
Considering the demand pressures that mental health puts upon many primary care services, the review is of particular relevance to practice staff, the not-for-profit organisation said.
It follows a survey of 1,000 individuals across multiple sectors, including health but also services like housing, which showed 54% felt they needed more training in how to support those with mental health needs.
Skills for Health senior consultant Dawn Probert said: ‘More often than not, patients with mental health care needs present to primary care services due to a lack of visible alternatives.
‘All primary care staff, whether receptionists, administrators, practice nurses or GPs increasingly interact with individuals with mental health needs Despite this, however, they aren’t always best placed to provide effective care for patients.
‘The consultation represents a concrete first step toward addressing these issues by identifying the skills and training required to develop a more holistic and person-centred approach to supporting mental health across the board.’
The national consultation is being done in partnership with Hampshire and Isle of Wight (HIOW) ICB and NHS England and is open until 11 November.
HIOW head of workforce transformation, Liz Skeat, said they had received consistent feedback from colleagues that mental health skills and training have not kept pace with the transformation and change in demand.
‘HIOW ICS is responsible for the health and care needs of 1.9 million people, but we realise that the issues we are experiencing stretch far and wide.’
Ultimately the Framework will support the development of the mental health knowledge, skills and capabilities of those who provide care and support to individuals with mental health needs, offering consistency, and the ability to develop shared standards, she added.
The consultation can be found atwww.skillsforhealth.org.uk/info-hub/core-capabilities-framework-for-mental-health