New project will help GPs in Milton Keynes treat adults with mental health problems

The first person someone with a mental health problem is likely to turn to for professional help is their GP, who is expected to deal with them in an appropriate manner and within the 10-minute consultation window.

“Mental health problems are a major part of our GPs’ workload and we are keen to provide them with as much support as possible.”  Michael Ramsden, Project Lead – Head of Programme Delivery: Planned Care & Long-Term Conditions, NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

NHS Milton Keynes CCG decided that adding mental health options to their existing immediate Phone Advice & Guidance service would be a very simple and effective step forward in supporting their GPs.

GPs in and around Milton Keynes have been using immediate Phone Advice & Guidance (delivered by Consultant Connect) for physical care since October 2017, so are very familiar with how easy it is.  On average, calls to this service are answered by a specialist within 39 seconds and last between 3-4 minutes.

To set up the mental health options, the Consultant Connect team worked closely with the CCG and their local mental health trust, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL) to establish a defined rota of specialists for the service before launching it to all local GP practices on 29 October 2018.

Using the activity data reports Consultant Connect sends us we are able to; identify specific training needs, monitor outcomes and commission improved services to the local population.”  Michael Ramsden, Project Lead – Head of Programme Delivery: Planned Care & Long-Term Conditions, NHS Milton Keynes CCG.

In total 27 GP practices covering a patient population of 252,400 now have access to the service.  Local GPs we spoke to are enthusiastic:

“We are now able to fit in a quick call to a mental health specialist within our normal consultation time, which is great help.”

“With this service patients should get a improved experience and avoid unnecessary appointments.  This should mean the outcomes for the patients will be better.”

The initial roll out of the service is for adults, this could be extended to include older adult patients and child and teenage adolescent mental health in the future.

In fact, CNWL’s CAMHS Service Director, Jackie Shaw was one of the expert speakers at our ‘How to Improve CAMHS’ webinar which was held on 29th October 2018. Find out more.

If you are interested in finding out how our service can help Mental healthcare provision in your area, please contact us on 01865 261 467 or email