Who should care for people with learning disabilities?GPs need extra time to provide better services for these patientsCommunity learning disability nurses must get recognition they deserve

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7289.797 (Published 31 March 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:797

GPs need extra time to provide better services for these patients

  1. Graham Martin, chair, Royal College of General Practitioners learning disabilities working group (graham-martin@redroofs31.freeserve.co.uk)
  1. Red Roofs Surgery, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV11 5TW
  2. International Centre for Health and Society, University College London, London WC1E 6BT

    EDITOR—In his personal view Sellar advocates the development of a general practitioner for people with an intellectual handicap.1 He envisages a vocational training programme that might include psychiatry; developmental paediatrics; general medicine; neurology; cardiology; behavioural science; rehabilitative medicine; ear, nose, and throat work; ophthalmology; and genetics. Surely exposure to these specialties is part of undergraduate and vocational training for general practice.

    The training of doctors in medical and social issues related to patients with learning disabilities in the community should indeed be a priority,2 but the question is, which doctors? Psychiatrists or general practitioners? If general practitioners, should they be specialist general practitioners or the general practitioner with whom the patient is actually registered? General practitioners are grateful for the advice of consultant psychiatrists in learning disabilities, particularly regarding anticonvulsant, antipsychotic, and other …

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