At the start of this month, we were excited to launch a free psychiatry advice line exclusively for GPs to help manage the care of patients with mental health concerns.
We know that in parts of our region there are limited psychiatrists available and that sometimes there can be lengthy wait times for patients to access these services. The GP Psychiatry Support Line gives GPs direct and timely access to psychiatry expertise, allowing patients whose conditions are treatable within primary care, to stay under the care of their GP.
We have commissioned ProCare Mental Health Services to provide this important support. Their team of psychiatrists provide advice about diagnosis, investigation, medication and safety plans to help GPs support adults and children with a range of mental health issues.
From Monday to Friday, between 9am - 5pm, GPs can call the service on 1800 16 17 18 for advice about a patient. If a psychiatrist is not immediately available the service guarantees a response within 24 hours.
ProCare has been providing this service to six other Primary Health Network's regions for almost a year. During this time, they have demonstrated the ability to deliver high-quality phone advice with strong clinical governance. The service has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from GPs and I share a few of those comments below:
“Very timely return of call. Spent decent time on case. Very practical and clinically relevant advice. Highly appreciated”. GP - Hunter New England Central Coast PHN.
“I was in a doubt what to do with this patient and I wanted urgent answer on the control of her illness. It is a great service for rural GPs like us”. GP - Murrumbidgee PHN.
“Great service which makes me feel less isolated and more supported in my small rural community” GP - South Eastern NSW PHN.
To further support GPs, ProCare also provides free and accredited pre-recorded webinars on various mental health topics. Led by Senior Consulting Psychiatrist, Dr Martin Cohen, these videos feature psychiatrists from the GP Support Line presenting on areas of special interest.
We are committed to supporting healthcare providers and improving access to primary health services for the people in our region, particularly in the area of mental health. This service is just one example of a range of mental health services that we have commissioned to support patients and healthcare professionals.