General practitioners' perceptions of barriers to their provision of mental healthcare: a report on Mental Health and General Practice Investigation (MaGPIe).
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AIM: To explore GP attitudes and perceptions of barriers to providing mental healthcare. METHODS: The MaGPie study included a cross-sectional survey of a random sample of 78 GPs in the lower part of North Island, New Zealand. GPs completed a questionnaire about aspects of their provision of mental healthcare including consultation fees, perceived barriers to providing mental healthcare, and factors likely to increase detection of mental illness in general practice patients. RESULTS: Seventy (90%) GPs completed the questionnaire. GPs reported that consultations with patients with mental health problems took longer and could lead to increased waiting times for other patients. Many GPs subsidised mental health consultations either by not charging for longer consultations or writing-off fees. GPs thought that funded longer consultation times and more training in interviewing techniques would increase recognition of mental health problems in general practice. CONCLUSION: Structural aspects of general practice at the time of this survey presented a barrier to the provision of primary mental healthcare. The subsequent establishment of primary health organisations provides potential for improving primary mental healthcare through specific contracts for mental healthcare allowing variation in consultation length and the addition of mental health professionals to the general practice team.
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