GP training: patients who somatise

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by tansy, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. tansy

    tansy New Member

    'Primary Care Mental Health

    Teaching junior doctors to manage patients who somatise

    Every GP has patients on his or her books who visit regularly
    complaining of different symptoms which tests reveal have no organic
    cause. Their problems are really psychological but it can be
    difficult for a GP to spot this or get a patient to acknowledge their
    physical symptoms may be due to stress or worry. Re-attribution is a
    sophisticated mental health skill that can help patients come to
    terms with this, re-evaluate their symptoms and acknowledge their
    problems may be psychological. This project aims to find out if the
    Re-attribution skills can be taught to GP registrars in four hours.

    Why carry out the research?

    Patients who `somatise' their emotional distress often do not get the
    care they need: previous research has shown that about two thirds of
    patients who have depression initially go to their doctor with
    somatic symptoms. Patients are often sent for tests and
    investigations to rule out the possibility of illness and this is an
    unnecessary cost to the NHS. Re-attribution helps patient acknowledge
    their problems may be psychological and makes sure they can get the
    right diagnosis and treatment.

    GPs, however, may not have the time to leave their busy practices to
    go on training courses to learn Re-attribution skills. Learning those
    skills in an afternoon would be a more realistic option for GPs
    working in the NHS. It would make sense to teach these skills to
    people who are about to embark on a career as a GP.

    How is the research being undertaken?

    A video/DVD training package developed by Linda Gask, Professor of
    Primary Care Psychiatry at Manchester University is given to teachers
    of trainee doctors. Before the film is shown, the registrars are
    assessed with the help of actors playing the part of somatising
    patients. Their teachers then use the training package to teach them
    Re-attribution skills. The trainee doctors are assessed again to see
    if they learnt and retained the specialised technique.

    Where is it happening?

    The package is being tested on GP registrars in three training
    schemes in south London.

    Who is involved?

    The Primary Care Mental Health research team is led by Professor
    Andre Tylee.
    The research is funded by the IoP-based Psychiatry Research Trust.

    What is the timescale?

    The research is finished and the results are being analysed.

    To find out more

    Professor Andre Tylee, Primary Care Mental Health

    The Psychiatry Research Trust

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