GP trainees should train alongside child health specialists and psychiatrists in order to improve their management of mental health conditions in younger people, says the RCGP.
The RCGP said the ‘vast majority’ of NHS care for children and young people is delivered by GPs and proposed that under plans to extend training from three to four years trainees should be required to undertake additional training in the management of mental health conditions in this age group.
Currently fewer than half of GPs take part in paediatric or psychiatry training placement during their training – a key reason the RCGP pushed for an extension to GP training.
The plans come after chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies singled out better training of GPs in paediatrics and child mental health as a key priority for improving the health of the nation’s children.
RCGP Chair Dr Maureen Baker said: ‘The RCGP is proposing that there should be increased focus on equipping GPs to deal with the common mental health problems faced by younger people – this includes improving mental resilience, managing anxiety, depression and self-harm, identifying suicide risk and in the early recognition of psychosis.
‘The College is therefore recommending that in future, as part of an enhanced four-year training programme, all GP trainees should receive specialist-led training in both child health and mental health.
‘The RCGP is also working with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and Young Minds to develop ways that GPs and specialists might train together and so work more effectively when caring for young people with mental health problems and has set up a series of meetings to take this forward.’