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#GPnews: DH makes no new pledges to train GPs in suicide prevention

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16:30 The Government has responded to calls from the House of Commons health committee for GPs to receive better suicide awareness training.

As Pulse reported, the committee had said there should be funding for ongoing training in suicide prevention.

The DH response did not directly address the calls for ongoing funding, but said that there was already an existing programme for training.

It said: ‘Health Education England, in collaboration with Skills for Health and Skills for Care, has developed the Mental Health Core Skills and Education Framework which provides guidance for the development and delivery of appropriate and consistent cross-sector education and training for those with occasional contact, or those working with individuals with mental health problems.

‘The framework covers a number of topics including mental health awareness and promotion and self-harm and suicide prevention which would directly address the training needs of practitioners working with individuals presenting with self-harm and suicide risk.’

14:30 Having too much sleep might lead to suffering more nightmares, although does not increase their severity, according to a new study.

Researchers found that sleeping more than nine hours a night meant a higher risk of having nightmares, probably because it meant having more REM sleep, when unpleasant dreams most often occur, writes the Daily Mail.

To their surprise, the University of Oxford researchers found no link between nightmares and exercise or alcohol intake.

09:50 The Department of Health has announced a plan to expand the recruitment of mental health treatment staff across the NHS to be able to care for an extra one million patients by 2020/21.

It will be paid for out of extra funding that has previously been announced for mental health services under DH plans for ‘parity’ between physical and mental health services.

The BBC reports that the plans include:

  • 2,000 more nurses, consultants and therapist posts in child and adolescent mental health services
  • 2,900 additional therapists and health professionals supporting adult talking therapies
  • 4,800 additional posts for nurses and therapists working in crisis care settings
  • more mental health support for women around the time they give birth and early intervention teams working with people at risk of psychosis

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ‘We want people with mental health conditions to receive better treatment, and part of that means having the right NHS staff.

‘We know we need to do much more to attract, retain and support the mental health workforce of the future – today is the first step to address this historic imbalance in workforce planning.’

But Royal College of Nursing chief executive Janet Davies said: ‘There is already a dangerous lack of workforce planning and accountability and this report is unable to provide detail on how the ambitions will be met.

‘It is clear the Government will need to work hard just to get back to the number of specialist staff working in mental health services in 2010.

‘Under this government, there are 5,000 fewer mental health nurses and that goes some way to explaining why patients are being failed.’

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