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OnMedica – News – Mental health/behavioural issues account for nearly 1 in 3 fit notes

We want larger entry to psychological health therapists, say GP leaders

Caroline White

Friday, 01 September 2017

Nearly one in three fit notes issued by GPs in England is for psychological health/behavioural issues, reveal provisional figures from NHS Digital.

The figures, which cowl the interval from December 2014 to March 2017, are based mostly on anonymised knowledge collected from as much as 62.5% of all 18- to 65-year-olds registered with a GP in England. 

They present that the most typical cause for issuing a fit notice have been psychological health/behavioural issues, with this class accounting for 31% of all these written the place the analysis was recognized.

In all, greater than 12 million fit notes have been issued throughout this era, of which round 5.eight million had a recognized analysis.

Almost 1.eight million of those involved psychological health and behavioural circumstances.

Around one in 5 have been issued for a interval of absence of greater than 12 weeks.

Around 1.1 million fit notes associated to illnesses of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue, the second commonest recognized cause for which a fit notice was issued.

The variety of fit notes written for nervousness and stress-associated circumstances elevated by round 14% from 503,000 to 573,000 between 2015-16 and 2016-17.

And the issuing of fit notes peaked in January 2017 at 556,000.

Among these CCGs the place at the least two GP practices returned info, the info confirmed that Knowsley CCG recorded the very best variety of fit notes written for working age registered sufferers in March 2017 (four,123 fit notes/100,000 individuals), whereas Richmond CCG recorded the fewest (977/100,000 individuals).

Women persistently accounted for greater than half of the full variety of fit notes issued in the reporting interval, from a low of 53.eight% in August 2015 to a excessive of 57.eight% in January 2017.

Commenting on the figures, Dr Steve Mowle, honorary treasurer for the Royal College of GPs, stated the figures weren’t shocking as a result of mental-health-related issues made up an growing quantity of the GP caseload.

“They might possibly indicate a positive move towards greater awareness and reduced stigma of mental health in society – with people being more open and willing to discuss their mental health conditions,” he advised.

But he stated: “We know that working is useful for our sufferers’ lengthy-time period bodily and psychological health and wellbeing, and we’d like a society-large strategy, together with involvement from employers, to place measures in place to get individuals again into work, the place potential, safely and appropriately.”

And there was nonetheless an extended method to go earlier than psychological health achieved parity of esteem with bodily sickness — a medical precedence for the College.

“We are pushing for GPs to have easier, better access to more, and a greater variety of, mental health therapies in the community for their patients to reduce waiting times and ensure they get the care they need,” he stated.

And he added: “NHS England’s GP Forward View features a pledge for each GP follow to have entry to no less than one in every of 3,000 extra devoted psychological health therapists in the group. We want this and its different commitments– together with 5,000 extra GPs – to be delivered as a matter of urgency.”

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