07 May 2019

Calls to support longer mental health consultations

7/05/2019 3:14:52 PM

The RACGP has implored both sides of politics to ‘properly support’ general practice as the frontline of mental health care.

RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon
Limiting mental health consultations to under 40 minutes has been labelled ‘completely unreasonable’.

According to RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon, many GPs believe it is ‘completely unreasonable’ to limit mental health discussions with patients to 40 minutes or less, and are calling for government recognition of longer consultations.
‘Mental health care is one of the most common and complex areas of general practice. When we care for patients in crisis we need to be able to offer them the highest quality care without keeping an eye on the clock,’ Dr Nespolon said.
‘Often when a patient comes in needing mental health treatment it’s the first time they have spoken up about their concerns and, as GPs, we are there to make sure that we can keep them safe and out of crisis.’
For the past two years, the General Practice: Health of the Nation report has identified mental health as the number one issue faced by Australian GPs during their two million weekly consultations, and the area they are most concerned about for the future.
‘When a patient walks through the door with mental health needs or thoughts of suicide or self-harm, they need comprehensive care that cannot be time limited,’ Dr Nespolon said.
‘The last thing I want to do as a GP is tell a patient who is confiding in me that they will need stop talking because we have run out of time – these patients need support, and the failure of Medicare to provide this support could be a matter of life or death.
‘The Australian Government must provide better support for patients and GPs to let them decide how much time they require to deal with the issues before them.’

consultation times Medicare mental health care

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Dr Bijay Pandey   8/05/2019 8:59:21 AM

Thank you RACGP for raising the voice. I do many mental health consult in a day. Often it is impossible to actively listen, explore high risk o harm, formulate the presentation and manage in the confines of 40 minutes consult. Psychiatrist get more than an hour to conduct a consult in the area they are familiar with. However, sometime GPs have to do it in 15 minutes consultation

Andrew Kelly   12/05/2019 7:09:53 PM

What I'd like to see is the model that would allow that to happen which must include further access to GP training, Standards around GP use of English, timely access to interpreters where ESL issues arise, strategies to see that abuse of a new system doesn't occur. Will these appointments be farmed out to Social Workers, Nurses and OTs and 'Counsellors'. /? What will be the standard around expectations for GPs in regards to training etc?
In my view (at this point) GPs should need to apply to have access to this new time model and should be required to meet an agreed standard of practice and feedback in order to access it. Is this where mental health money is best spent? Should it be spent on parenting, mandated nutritional standards, peri-natal mental health support? I don't know the answer to that.

DR.GNANASEGARAN XAVIER   24/05/2019 12:58:19 AM

Often depression is missed in gp as presenting symptoms are so variable.Sometimes starts with stress at work and if one does not have enough time the diagnosis is missed.
The family can give more information and resheduled appointment can give more information and you will be suprised how much information you had missed.