Intended for healthcare professionals


GP training in mental health needs urgent reform

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 16 March 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j1311

Chinese translation


  1. Elizabeth England, mental health and whole person care clinical lead1,
  2. Vicki Nash, head of policy and campaigns2,
  3. Kamila Hawthorne, vice chair (professional development)1
  1. 1Royal College of General Practitioners, London, UK
  2. 2Mind, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: E England e.england{at}

Training has fallen behind in a rapidly changing healthcare landscape

General practice has followed the same training programme for over 30 years, against a backdrop of huge change in the organisation and structure of the way general practitioners work. Our understanding and awareness of mental health has also seen great change in this time.

Both the NHS and the government have committed to improving mental health care,1 and nowhere is this more important than in primary care.2 We now accept that people’s mental and physical health are intertwined, while GPs support more patients to manage complex, comorbid conditions. Consequently, GPs are required to become experts in areas outside healthcare such as housing, relationships, family, and employment, and they must be well supported to take on such roles, including social prescribing.3 Any educational changes to general practice must be considered at a national, practice, …

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