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GP practices benefit from nurse-led mental health clinics

A nurse-led model focusing on the mental health of older adults proves effective

Nurse-led mental health clinics for older adults in GP practices are cost-effective and just as successful as medical clinics in providing accurate diagnosis, research shows.

The concept of having nurse-led mental health clinics for older adults was investigated using the specialist skills of a community psychiatric nurse in older adult mental health and trialled in three GP practices in the Scottish Borders.

An article in this month’s issue of Mental Health Practice outlines the results from the evaluation after one year of the project.

Author Bernie McInally, a community psychiatric nurse and clinical studies officer at NHS Borders  and the Scottish Dementia Clinical Research Network, said: ‘[The evaluation] showed it to be cost-effective, to equal medical-led clinics in sensitivity and accuracy of diagnosis, and often to be preferred by service users. Non-medical prescribing by the nurse is central to its success.’

The article concludes that through close working between the community psychiatric nurse and the GP, a mutual trust and respect for each other’s role develops.

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