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General practitioners' views of psychology services: a comparison of general practitioners who refer to onsite and offsite services

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Abstract:

Background Changes in NHS policy have resulted in more psychologists working in primary care. However, there are still many general practices that do not have psychologists working onsite. General practitioners (GPs) have an important role in shaping psychological services. The aim of the study was to compare the views of GPs with onsite psychology services with those who refer to offsite psychology services.

Method Views of GPs were gathered by postal questionnaire, which asked about use, views, knowledge and delivery of psychological intervention, as well as communication with psychologists.

Results Overall, the majority of GPs expressed a preference for psychology services to be delivered within GP practices. GPs working in practices with an onsite psychologist were more likely to report that they had received information about the psychology service, talked more frequently with psychologists and found this communication more helpful when compared with GPs who refer to offsite psychology services.

Conclusions There is a preference among the responding GPs for psychology services to be delivered within primary care for common mental health problems. Support is provided for the positive effects of onsite psychology services.

Keywords: GPS' VIEWS; PRIMARY CARE; PSYCHOLOGY SERVICE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2006

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