Sophie Galloway, GP Partner in West Sussex

“There is just not enough funding and we are seeing an increasing number of patients with mental health issues in general practice. It is a large amount of the patient population and a lot of my workload as a result of there not being health services there.”

“The urgent things, like cancer referrals, we’re not noticing a difference, but routine referrals, such as heart disease to a cardiologist, that is increasing from a couple of months to now six months and I’m now saying to patients nine months is not unusual. This is a huge amount of time if you have something wrong with you. If you’re worried, or scared or there are other things going on.”

“I have one lady who has had chronic psychiatric problems nearly all of her adult life and has had many stays in inpatient facilities. She sees a psychiatrist regularly, every six months, and she’s on a very complex cocktail of drugs, which sometimes she takes, sometimes she doesn’t. There are supposed to be CPNs [community psychiatric nurses] that see her but the local CPN has retired as her caseload was too much. As a result she comes to see me several times a week. There is nowhere else for her to go.

She does need the support, she does need the help. I am trying to do the best I can on the information I have – but I am not a mental health professional, I do not have that training. She is someone who uses general practice a lot but with the right support in the community her life could be significantly improved. It’s a hard thing to see.  She says – why does no one contact me, why is my CPN not there? I have no answer for her. I know if there was the right support there for her she would be a different person and she wouldn’t need her GP quite as much. There is literally not enough money. It’s quite heartbreaking.”

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