Mental health concerns over NHS reforms

Mental health worries for NHS reforms
Mental health worries for NHS reforms

By staff

Mental health services could be hit by the sweeping reforms of the NHS revealed last week, two polls have suggested.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley's reforms are based on the transfer of responsibility to GPs.

But over 75% of GPs warned they would struggle to cope with taking on patients with mental health problems in a poll for mental health charity Rethink.

"We often hear from people with mental illness that GPs don't understand mental health and want to quickly refer them on to specialists," Rethink's chief executive Paul Jenkins said.

"Now GPs themselves are telling us that they have concerns too."

The health white paper seeks to create a market dynamic by handing responsibilities to GP consortia for the commissioning of services.

They will be given "sufficient freedoms to use resources in ways that achieve the best and most cost-efficient outcomes for patients".

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham told the Commons the changes would lead to a "postcode lottery writ large" and a second poll for reinforces the concern. It found two-thirds of doctors were not in favour of the reforms.


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