GP appointments related to mental health have risen by 50 per cent since the pandemic, a survey has found.
Charities and campaigners have long warned of the “mental health crisis” that would be brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and the multiple national lockdowns.
However, according to a poll conducted by Pulse, an industry publisher that specialises in reporting primary care, around 38 per cent of GP consultations now have a mental health element, compared with 25 per cent pre-Covid.
Furthermore, seven in 10 GPs said they were working beyond their competence in dealing with children’s mental health issues, while 63 per cent said the same for adults.
Many were battling to get children seen by specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
Patients discharged to GPs
One GP based in south-east London said: “I have not had a CAMHS referral accepted for at least the past two years – all rejected as ‘not actively suicidal, discharged to GP’.”
Another told Pulse: “CAMHS reject every single referral, even in children presenting to hospital with overdose.”
The Royal College of Psychiatrists responded to the poll, saying it was seeing “record” referrals and there were not enough psychiatrists for the workload.
The Pulse snapshot poll of 569 family doctors found that many GPs were having to provide a range of support during their consultations with patients.