GPs forced to diagnose mental illness in children ‘outside their competence’

he majority of GPs say they have to diagnose child and adolescent mental health disorders ‘above their level of competence’ due to a marked deterioration in access to specialist services.

Six out of ten say that they are forced to diagnose serious illnesses such as autistic spectrum disorder or ADHD and prescribe specialist treatment, due to a ‘dearth of provision all over the country’.

The Pulse survey of over 900 GPs found 47% believed access to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) had worsened in the past year, compared with only 5% who believed they had got better.

Some 58% of respondents said they are expected to diagnose child and adolescent mental health disorders due to a lack of access to services, compared with 36% who said they were not.

The figures come as an independent report – published today – found that between 2013/14 and 2014/15 the number of referrals to CAMHS increased five times faster than the growth of the workforce in these services.

Full story in Pulse 15 February 2016