Click here to see ITV News health editor Catherine Jones report A fifth of GPs have seen patients come to harm as they were unable to access appropriate support from their community mental health teams, with some patients committing suicide, being sectioned or admitted as a result. The survey of 500 GPs reveals a worrying crisis in community mental health, with more than eight out of ten GPs saying they were not confident their local community mental health service could cope with its caseload. Some 18% of GPs said they had experienced patients who were harmed because of delays or a lack of support from their community mental health or crisis teams. The vast majority of GPs said that they were having to manage patients with mental health issues outside their competence at least some of the time. GP leaders said the ‘shocking’ findings of the survey illustrated an ‘urgent review’ of the funding of mental health services was needed to prevent patients falling through the cracks. The findings come despite the Government promising that mental health will have parity of esteem for physical health. The main findings included:
- More than eight out of ten GPs saying their local community mental health service could not cope with its caseload;
- Around 43% reporting services in their area had become worse or much worse in the past 12 months;
- More than a third (34%) report patients having to wait two or more days for teams to respond to urgent requests for assessments. And 85% say they have to wait a month or more for a routine request;
- 82% of respondents saying they have to manage patients with mental health issues outside their competence at least some of the time;
- And 84% of respondents saying they were forced to prescribe at least sometimes because the local Improving Accessing to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service is not able to help a patient, with 50% saying they were forced to do this ‘often’ or ‘all the time’.