Primary care services given positive review
EXPERIENCES of the Bailiwick’s mental health primary care services are largely positive, according to a major study.
The study that exposed the challenges faced by the secondary care services found its primary care services, which include GP surgeries and Healthy Minds, which provides short-term therapeutic interventions for adults experiencing anxiety and depression, were found to meet the majority of service users’ needs.
From the Your Voice survey, which aimed to explore the Bailiwick mental health services and service users’ experiences, almost all service user respondents agreed their experiences had largely been positive, with 84% reporting that the care met their needs.
Compared to England and Wales, during the same period, this was 14% more positive than their comparable rate.
Waiting times for primary care services were also found to be much shorter.
Guernsey Mind executive director Emily Litten welcomed the positive tone of the report.
‘It has been very difficult for us to understand the needs of people locally,’ she said.
‘We have been playing a guessing game in terms of whether people are happy with the services they are receiving, and the choices that they want to have about their care.’
However, while the general picture is positive, interviewed participants highlighted that experiences of support vary substantially between individual GPs, plus there were gaps in signposting, as well as discussions on medication and side-effects and mental health training knowledge.
To tackle the issues, recommendations provided by Mind UK’s research and evaluation team, who conducted the survey, included improvements to signposting for further non-clinical services and support within GP surgeries, since 42% of users felt the information provided was sufficient and 48% of professionals felt that access had become harder.
Other suggestions, such as improving provision of information of medication and its side effects, and increased flexibility for booking appointments, were also advised.
The recommendations prompted praise from both Guernsey Mind, which commissioned the survey, and Health & Social Care for the action-focused element to the report.
‘With so many people responding to this survey, we know that people care passionately about the services they are receiving,’ Ms Litten added.
‘They want change and they want their voices to be heard.’
Health & Social Care president Deputy Heidi Soulsby also embraced the survey, despite the concerns raised.
‘We welcome the survey by Guernsey Mind and the views of service users is incredibly helpful to us,’ she said.
‘We’re pleased to see positive feedback with regard to the primary care services we provide.’