Awareness, GP News

07 October, 2017

Annual survey: almost all GPs open to referring to St Patrick's

Our annual GP survey, which questioned a nationally representative sample of 100 General Practitioners (GPs), has revealed that 93% of GPs are open to referring patients to St Patrick's Mental Health Services (SPMHS).

The survey also gave interesting insights into why GPs refer to SPMHS and the opportunities that are there for future improvements.

GPs referrals 

Depression (95%) remains the most common mental health problem for which GPs refer service users to mental health services. Anxiety (52%) is the second most common reason, while those referred due to psychotic disorders is 29%.

Traditional therapy remains the preference of nearly all GPs, with 98% of GPs stating they would recommend face-to-face therapy as a first preference.

The reputation of the hospital (86%) and the consultant’s reputation and experience (77%) were cited as important factors influencing GPs' referrals to SPMHS.

Only one GP who had engaged with SPMHS said that the follow-up communication was negative, although over half (57%) said the referral process could be improved.

82% of those surveyed are aware of the community-based Dean Clinics which are run by SPMHS; however, 60% are not aware that the Dean Clinics offer a free mental health assessment for patients referred by their GP.

Opportunities and awareness

Not all GPs that took the survey are aware of the services that are provided by SPMHS.

In fact, only 64% of GPs are familiar with SPMHS, while just over half (51%) of GPs know that SPMHS offers inpatient services.

When it comes to opportunity for improvement, 77% said making the service cheaper would aid future access, while 70% said creating awareness around the services offered would help.

The majority (82%) of GPs surveyed would like to receive more information about the services that SPMHS provides. However, most would like to be contacted just a few times per year.

Half of all respondents who have not previously referred to SPMHS said they had not done so due to the distance potential service users would have to travel.

GP learning

Nearly all GPs indicated that they would be interested in Continuous Professional Development (CPD) that covered treatment options and therapies, while management in primary care (89%) and treating anxiety (88%) were also popular topics.

A third (32%) of those surveyed said they would prefer to do their CPD courses online.


This year’s survey has revealed that almost all GPs are open to referring to SPMHS and almost all that do receive positive follow-up communication.

Depression remains the most common mental health problem, while SPMHS has the opportunity for improvement in awareness and information in regards to the services it provides.

Tags:   Survey   Suicide prevention day   Referral