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Practice nurses ‘need better mental health training’

Practice nurses need better training in mental health, says mental health charity Mind.
support for patient

Practice nurses should be offered better training to care for patients with mental health problems, a charity urges.

Mental health charity Mind is calling for better training for practice nurses and GPs, and points out that GP surgeries are often the first port of call for people with mental health problems.

Lack of training

A report by the charity highlights a 2014 study of practice nurses in England that revealed 42% had had no mental health training at all.

The survey of 390 practice nurses, which was funded by the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, found 81.5% had responsibilities for aspects of mental health and wellbeing where they had had no training.

CPD with a mental health focus

Mind recommends the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) specify training hours, with a focus on supporting people with mental health problems. All GPs and practice

Practice nurses should be offered better training to care for patients with mental health problems, a charity urges.

Mental health charity Mind is calling for better training for practice nurses and GPs, and points out that GP surgeries are often the first port of call for people with mental health problems.

Lack of training

A report by the charity highlights a 2014 study of practice nurses in England that revealed 42% had had no mental health training at all.

The survey of 390 practice nurses, which was funded by the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, found 81.5% had responsibilities for aspects of mental health and wellbeing where they had had no training.

CPD with a mental health focus

Mind recommends the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) specify training hours, with a focus on supporting people with mental health problems. All GPs and practice nurses should undertake continuous professional development with a mental health focus every year, the report adds.

‘The General Medical Council and NMC should take a lead in specifying how much time GPs and nurses should spend developing their mental health knowledge,’ the report states.

Suicide prevention

‘People experiencing a mental health crisis can often seek support at their local GP practice. Making suicide prevention training a core part of existing first aid training for all practice staff would help equip frontline staff – including receptionists – to respond safely and effectively when someone is at their most vulnerable.’

RCN professional lead for primary and community care Kathryn Yates said: ‘Mental health problems account for a huge amount of the demand on primary and community services, but this is simply not reflected in the training available.

‘More training for primary care staff would not only help people to manage their mental health and wellbeing better, but could also ease pressure on other parts of the health service. A person with a mental health problem must be able to expect that any staff member they talk to or seek support or treatment from be fully trained and confident in helping them.’


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