Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the RCGP, has responded to a BJGP study published today on older patients' mental health care.

She said: “Mental health issues can affect anyone at any age, and all our patients’ deserve high quality mental health care at every stage of their life.

“We know that access to certain therapies, such as talking therapies, can really benefit some patients with mental health conditions - particularly our older patients, as highlighted in this study - so it’s concerning that as our patients get older, they are experiencing greater difficulty in accessing them.

“Unfortunately, it is increasingly the case that these important services aren’t readily available in the community, where they would be of most benefit, so GPs simply cannot refer our patients onto them when need them, or patients face significant delays even when they are referred.

“We need more mental health services in the community. We need a greater variety of services in the community and we need GPs and our teams to have better, easier and quicker access to them.

“Mental health is an enduring priority for the College, and as part of our General Election manifesto Six Steps for Safer General Practice, we are calling on the new Government, whatever its persuasion, to honour the pledges in NHS England’s GP Forward View, including for every GP practice to have access to one of 3,000 new mental health therapists, as a matter of urgency.”

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