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Logo of brjgenpracRCGP homepageJ R Coll Gen Pract at PubMed CentralBJGP at RCGPBJGP at RCGP
Br J Gen Pract. 2004 April; 54(501): 285–291.
PMCID: PMC1314855

Integrated primary mental health care: threat or opportunity in the new NHS?


In this paper, we argue that mental illness touches everyone's lives, and that mental health care is a core activity of primary care. The increasing move towards a primary care-led National Health Service has now created a climate where primary care can move beyond providing a gatekeeper function for secondary care specialist services. Primary care is also sufficiently mature as a discipline to commission, develop, and deliver integrated patient-focused mental health services grounded in the culture and built on the strengths of primary care. We discuss examples of integrated approaches to mental health care, and highlight the potential tensions created by new ways of working. We also suggest that any changes need to be accompanied by carefully negotiated adjustments to the way primary and secondary healthcare professionals conceptualise their roles and responsibilities, and must be underpinned by new ways of learning together.

Articles from The British Journal of General Practice are provided here courtesy of Royal College of General Practitioners