General practitioners' (GPs’) informed awareness of the various medical specialities underpins their ability to manage and commission services for their patients. Three questions, relevant to GP practice, to test awareness of child and adolescent mental health services (CHMHS) were developed and sent to 238 GP principals in North Staffordshire. One hundred and seventy-six responded.
Forty-seven per cent had no undergraduate training in CAMHS and 93% had negligible postgraduate experience. Only 27% thought they saw CAMHS cases frequently. Sixty-four per cent usually referred those they saw. Relevant expertise made referral to CAMHS less likely, as did membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners. Seventythree per cent wanted more training, but only 7% thought training easy to obtain.
These findings confirm the need for child and adolescent psychiatrists to become directly involved in the commissioning of their services and GP training.
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