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Survey shows mental health patients feel medication given as easy option

By WMNlynbarton  |  Posted: August 26, 2014

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A number of recommendations have been made concerning the way patients with mental health problems are treated

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Many people living with mental health problems in Cornwall have said they feel let down by their GPs and believe they are offered medication as an easy choice of treatment.

Research conducted by the county’s health and social care champion Healthwatch Cornwall found that young people in particular were dissatisfied.

Three quarters were unhappy with how clearly their doctor spoke to them about their condition and treatment.

Debbie Pritchard, chief executive of Healthwatch Cornwall said it was vital to listen.

“This research has raised concerns about how people of all ages feel about their mental health primary care,” she said.

“It shows varied feeling across the county and we are making eight recommendations to NHS England and other health and social care providers to address the issues raised.”

The survey, which took place from January to April, indicated that most people felt they had not been offered a choice of treatment and medication was often an easy option for the GP. Up to a quarter meanwhile felt dissatisfied with the GP service and more than 25% disagreed that their doctor referred them to a suitable support organisation. The survey found the younger and older respondents found it most difficult to book an appointment.

Healthwatch Cornwall has put forward a number of recommendations, including making the appointment booking process easier and offering double time slots, a review of current training for GPs in relation to young people and mental health and meeting GP representatives to discuss better use of communication technology.

The organisation also wants to have a named GP for patients with a diagnosed mental health condition.

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