Authors: Marilyn McMurchie, Victoria Sutton and Kay Wilhelm, NSW
Event: 2007 TheMHS Conference
Subject: GP SHARED MENTAL HEALTH CARE/ PRIMARY CARE
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: To promote an understanding of general medical practice to enable better communication between mental health services and general practitioners (GPs). Features of general practice valued by patients and GPs include the benefits of continuity or on-going care and the longevity of the clinical relationship. General practice training emphasises skills in communication and active listening, management plans for people with complex needs, simple psychological interventions, and access to a range of community services. Psychologically-minded GPs may undertake further training. The Better Outcomes in Mental Health (BOiMH) initiative of the Department of health and Aging introduced all GPs to the range of psychological assessment parameters and to a range of treatments. The mental health case load in general practice is high. Eighty per cent of the Australian population attends a GP at least once a year. The presenting problem is often “stress or stress-related” somatic symptoms. Previously, GPs had to (1) cope by themselves, (2) refer to a variable but usually poorly responsive public service or (3) refer to a three-months-or-more wait to see a psychiatrist or a perceived-to-be-expensive psychologist. The new BOiMH initiatives, especially Medicare item 2710, have led to changes. Vignettes from clinical practice will be presented. The impact of the Enhanced Primary Care program and particularly the BOiMH initiatives has been to give GPs a greater understanding of care planning and mental health terms and interventions. Try talking to us! We want to talk to you.