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Showing posts from October, 2016

Bringing together physical and mental health within primary care

Reducing fragmentation between different parts of the health system is a key priority for the National Health Service (NHS) and for health systems internationally, if they are to meet the challenges they face. One of the deepest fault-lines in the NHS is the disconnection of mental healthcare from the rest of the system; this has to be addressed as part of efforts to improve integrated care and make care more person centred.

In an article published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Preety Das, Chris Naylor and I discuss this issue. Developing integrated approaches towards mental and physical health is increasingly becoming a policy priority; the report of the independent mental health taskforce to the NHS identified this as one of the top three priorities for the next five years. There has been recent investment in integrating mental and physical health within secondary care, for example, liaison psychiatry in acute general hospitals and perinatal mental healthcare. Wh…

Government’s anti-immigration stance following the vote for Brexit alarms UK scientists

I was interviewed this week by the scientific journal Nature on the impact of the vote for Brexit and recent statements from government ministers on the recruitment and retention of scientific staff from outside the UK. I made the point that the success of our universities and their world-leading status depends in part on their ability to recruit leading scientists from across the globe. If this recruitment is threatened, then our universities - which make an essential contribution to our society - will be weakened.

Should all GPs become NHS employees?

In a debate article in the BMJ, Laurence Buckman and I discuss the arguments for against GPs in England becoming NHS employees. Primary care in England’s NHS is in crisis. Recruitment of GPs is difficult throughout England, with many practices reporting vacant posts; many GPs are considering retiring early, and others want to cut down on their clinical work. The problems faced by GPs are partly due to the contracts that general practices have to provide NHS services and the way secondary care is organised. These contracts encourage the NHS to transfer work to primary care with the expectation that GPs will pick up this work at little or no extra cost. Most GPs would have no problem with taking on such work if they were given time to deal with it during their current working week. If GPs had employment contracts similar to NHS consultants they could have job plans, with time allocated for clinical work and for activities such as administration, teaching, training, and research.

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