A key issue repeatedly highlighted in surveys carried out by the Mental Health Rights Campaign among service users and their families/carers has been the lack of timely and appropriate services provided by GPs. In 2015 58% of people surveyed indicated that waiting times to see GPs were unsatisfactory or very unsatisfactory while less than half ( 41%) felt that their GP had offered them the most appropriate type of care.
GPwSIs can improve patient care in a number of important ways:
· reduce costs and unnecessary secondary care referrals, helping divert referrals to a service provided by the GPwSI or extended scope practitioners
· improve skills and facilitate more effective management of patients in primary care, using the GPwSI’s insight into general practice and their specialty to disseminate education and training
· help improve clinical services for patients by reducing delays, improving access and keeping care closer to home
· enhance patient care by managing a condition at a specialist level, but also take a holistic approach to co-existing multi-morbidities
3 Aug 2016
Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Department of Health:
“Please provide information on the number and location ( by electoral ward or nearest measurement) of GPs in Northern Ireland who have been accredited as Practitioners with a Special Interest in Mental Health ( PwSI)*”
4 Aug 2016
Response from Department of Health
“ we do not hold the information requested. It may be held by the Business Services Organisation”
4 Aug 2016
FOI to the Business Services Organisation ( BSO) requesting information relating to PsWI accreditations.
10 Aug 2016
Response from the Business Services Organisation ( BSO)
“I can confirm that BSO do not hold information relating to PsWI accreditations. This information may be held by each individual HSC Trust”
26 Aug 2016
FOI to Belfast Health and Social Care Trust ( BHSCT) requesting information relating to PsWI accreditations.
7 Sept 2016
Response from Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
“ Belfast Trust does not hold this information. You may wish to contact the Health and Social Card Board who may have this information”
1 Sept 2016
FOI to Northern Health and Social Care Trust ( NHSCT) requesting information relating to PsWI accreditations
13 Sept 2016
Response from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust
“GPs are independent practitioners not employed by the Trust. GP numbers can be found on the BSO website”
23 September 2016
No response received from either the Southern Health and Social Care Trust or the Southern Trust within the 20 working days are required by the Freedom of Information legislation.
4 October 2016
FOI submitted to Health and Social Care Board
“Please provide information on the number and location ( by electoral ward or nearest measurement) of GPs in each of the five Health and Social Care Trusts who have been accredited as Practitioners with a Special Interest in Mental Health ( PwSI)?
Response due by 1 November 2016. We’re not holding our breaths.
*A GP with a Special Interest (GPwSI) supplements their role as a generalist by providing an additional service while still working in the community.