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Help for GPs to diagnose mental health problems

25th May 2011

Following new guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), GPs will be given greater support to help diagnose patients with common mental health disorders.

anxiety

It will help ensure patients suffering from conditions such as anxiety and depression will be offered the right treatment.

The guidance brings together in one place all of NICE’s existing recommendations for common mental health disorders, making it easier for GPs to access all the information they need during a consultation.

Bristol GP Dr Barbara Compitus, who was involved in the development of the guidance, said: “This new guideline is a really useful tool for GPs as it will enable us to access all the information we need in a one-stop shop.

“Because patients present in diverse ways GPs need practical and accessible tools to further increase recognition of common mental health disorders. This guideline delivers these tools and will enable GPs to drive up quality and consistency of care provided.”

The latest guidance has a focus on anxiety disorders, an area where recognition is poor in primary care.

NICE recommends that GPs be alert to patients who may present with possible anxiety disorders, particularly if they have a past history of an anxiety disorder, possible physical symptoms of an anxiety disorder or have experienced a recent traumatic event.

Guidance Chair Tony Kendrick, Professor of Primary Care at the Hull York Medical School, said good progress had been made on the detection of depression but it was now important to do the same for anxiety.

 

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