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Attitudes and roles of general practitioners in the treatment of schizophrenia compared with community mental health staff and patients

Allen, Jennifer (2004) Attitudes and roles of general practitioners in the treatment of schizophrenia compared with community mental health staff and patients. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 39. pp. 78-84. ISSN 0933-7954. DOI UNSPECIFIED

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Abstract

Background Most general practitioners (GPs) are currently treating a small number of patients with schizophrenia; however, little is known about GPs’ experiences in this area. This paper examines the attitudes and roles of Australian GPs in the treatment of schizophrenia and their relationships with specialist services. Methods A total of 192 GPs’ ratings of possible sources and forms of help for patients with schizophrenia were compared with the ratings of 50 mental health services (MHS) staff and 129 patients. Comparisons within the health professionals were also made in relation to diagnostic and treatment confidence, perceived roles, and typical problems encountered. Results Perceived helpfulness ratings were reasonably consistent across groups. However, patients tended to rank close family members as more helpful. GPs and MHS staff reported complementary roles, with a shared responsibility for early detection and relapse prevention. Treatment compliance, and communication and accessibility to specialist agencies were identified as major problems. Conclusions GPs fulfil a valuable role in the treatment of schizophrenia, which could be enhanced through improved training. Mental health services need to work more effectively with GPs in treating schizophrenia and acknowledge their complementary roles.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Psychology and Human Development
Depositing User: Atira Pure
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2014 15:01
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 09:07
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