#123GP campaigners meet with Health and Social Care Board

Statement from #123GP campaign following their meeting with the Health and Social Care Board in relation to the proposal to increase funding for and access to GP practice based counselling

“The #123GP campaign met with Dr. Sloan Harper and his colleagues in the Health and Social Care Board this afternoon, Tuesday 21 August 2018, to discuss their call for increased funding for and improved access to counselling in GP practices.  Campaigners have called for an immediate doubling of funding for this service, which at an average of £2.29 per patient currently, is lamentably underfunded.

This call, based on published research and evidence, is supported by over 40 GPs, counsellors, mental health charities as well as over 2000 individuals. Campaigners highlighted the fact that while counselling has been proven to very often be a lower cost and more effective treatment option than medication , waiting lists for GP practice based counselling range from between three to six months, and sometimes longer, evidence that current funding is entirely inadequate. They also raised  the need to place the GP practice based counselling on a proper footing, so that GPs and patients alike can have confidence in this essential service, the current funding of which leaves it as a ‘Cinderella service’.

Campaigners were hopeful - given the growing rates of suicide and mental ill-health in our society, matched by the evidence they presented and the critical support from front-line professionals - that Dr. Sloan and the Health and Social Care Board would welcome this positive contribution from families, bringing their experience and what are constructive, modest proposals to the table. Regrettably the families left the meeting feeling that the scale of the crisis facing our communities is not recognised and that their urgency and commitment was not reciprocated.

The Health and Social Care Board has committed to providing a formal response to the #123GP campaign proposal within 2 weeks. We continue to be hopeful that the Board will review the evidence and case for increased funding for GP practice based counselling and respond accordingly”

For further information please contact Sara Boyce PPR on 90-313315 or 07710953270 sara@pprporoject.org