Irish general practitioners referrals to psychological therapies
Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Objective: General Medical Practitioners play a crucial role in the detection and referral of mental health problems in primary care. This study describes the referral patterns of Irish General Practitioners (GPs) to psychological therapies and profiles the range of psychological therapies available. Method: A 21-item study-specific questionnaire exploring referral processes to psychological therapies was sent to all GPs listed by the Irish College of General Practitioners in one county in Ireland. A 19-item questionnaire exploring details of psychological therapies offered and referral pathways was sent to members of psychological therapy accrediting bodies in the same county. Results: Of 97 GP respondents (33% response rate), their estimation of the percentage of their patients who have presenting or underlying mental health issues averaged 22%. When asked to indicate which psychological therapies they consider for referrals, psychiatric referrals was the most frequent referral option (94%), followed by Counsellors (69%), Clinical psychologist (60%) and Psychotherapists (30%). GPs indicated they had some or very little knowledge of specific psychological therapies. Of 129 psychological therapists (45% response rate), self-referral and GP referral were their main referral pathways; 80% worked in private practice; highest qualification level was Undergraduate/Higher Diploma (66%), Master Level (39%) and Doctoral Level (5%). Conclusion: GPs refer patients presenting with mental health problems to psychiatrists with significantly lower percentages referring to other types of psychological therapists. Findings demonstrate that there is a need for greater education and information-sharing between GPs and providers of accredited psychological therapies to increase knowledge on specific therapies and their evidence base.
Primary care , Psychological therapist , Psychotherapy , Referral
Cullinan, V., Veale, A. and Vitale, A. (2015) 'Irish General Practitioner referrals to psychological therapies', Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 33(2), pp. 73-80. doi: 10.1017/ipm.2015.17