NHS England has published Guidance on co-locating mental health therapists in primary care.

An increasing number of patients are attenting primary care with mental health problems; according to a survey of over 1000 GPs by the charity Mind, in June 2018 around two in five appointments involved mental health.

For many people, primary care is the first port of call for accessing mental health support but patients are also increasingly able to self-refer to mental health services.

Integrating mental health therapists into general practice could strengthen the primary care team’s ability to provide holistic and accessible services to patients. The General practice forward view also set out investment to reduce GP workload, including funding for 3000 additional practice‑based mental health therapists.

The guidance seeks to assist GPs, practice managers, and commissioners looking to integrate mental health therapists, covering:

  • benefits of workforce integration, including case studies
  • quality assurance and governance
  • co-located mental health therapist funding
  • managing co-location costs
  • balancing the costs of co-location with benefits.