Society joins depression campaign

The British Psychological Society has joined a group of mental health charities and professional bodies to express concern that from next year family doctors may no longer have to improve support for patients with depression under the system that rewards practices for the quality of care they provide.

Centre for Mental Health, the Mental Health Foundation, the Mental Health Providers Forum, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Psychological Society have come together to call on the Secretary of State for Health to ensure that next year’s Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) for primary care continues to include measures for how GPs support patients with depression.

The organisations are extremely concerned that retiring the existing indicators for depression without replacing them with new measures of equal weight would have very damaging consequences for people with depression. It would remove the main incentive for family doctors to manage the care of patients with depression and support the mental health of patients with diabetes and heart disease.

John Hanna, Policy Unit Director for the Division of Clinical Psychology, says:

“We are astonished and disappointed that it is proposed that the QOF indicators for depression be dropped, rather than, as we hoped and expected, improved and replaced.  Depression negatively impacts on society at all levels and accounts for a substantial cost to personal lives and the economy, estimated to cost the UK many billions of pounds per year.  Losing these indicators risks a significant loss of incentive for GPs to give focus to mental health concerns; the gap left by these indicators could well be filled by non-mental health-focused incentives, further unbalancing the ‘parity of esteem’ sought within the mental health sector on behalf of mental health service users and carers.  We call on the independent advisory committee to reverse this decision, and to grant time to improve and revitalise the existing standards so that they become more workable for GPs.”

Read more about the campaign on the Centre for Mental Health website.