Practice nurses are not offered enough mental health training, government data has revealed.
The majority of mental health problems are addressed in primary care services, however many nurses and GPs feel they are not confident in their ability to treat these patients.
Mental health charity Mind published a report on 1 November, calling for nurses and GPs to receive structured mental health training.
The report, called ‘Better equipped, better care: Improving mental health training for GPs and practice nurses’ used data obtained from Health Education England and the Welsh Deanery.
It noted that 82% of practice nurses said that they are not properly equipped to deal with aspects of mental health for which they are responsible, and 42% have had no mental health training at all.
Kathryn Yates, Royal College of Nursing professional lead for primary and community care said: “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 should be fully trained and confident in helping them.”
Mind has called on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to make mental health training a compulsory part of revalidation.
“The NMC should take a lead and specify a set number of training hours that practice nurses spend with a focus on supporting people with mental health problems, and reflect the need to achieve parity of esteem between physical and mental health,” the report said.
“On-going professional development is one way that the inadequate pre-qualification training for practice staff can be addressed,” it said.
The charity are urging professionals as well as the public to sign a petition to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt to improve mental health training for trainee GPs and practice nurses.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind said: “Offering more training would help patients get the best outcomes while also alleviating some of the pressure GPs and practice nurses experience on a daily basis.”