Identifying patients at risk of psychosis: a qualitative study of GP views in South West England

Daniela Strelchuk*, Nicola Wiles, Catherine Derrick, Stanley Zammit, Katrina Turner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Background
Early intervention in people with an at-risk mental state for psychosis can decrease the rates of transition to psychosis. GPs play a key role in the identification of this patient group but very few studies have explored GP’s awareness of patients at-risk of psychosis.

Aim
To explore GPs’ views and experiences of identifying patients with an at-risk mental state for psychosis, and the barriers and facilitators to identification.

Design and setting
In-depth semi-structured interviews were held with GPs working in the South West of England.

Method
A topic guide was used to ensure consistency across interviews. This guide was revised to incorporate a definition of the at-risk mental state for psychosis, as after conducting a few interviews it became clear that some GPs were not familiar with this construct. The interviews were audio-recorded and analysed thematically.

Results
Twenty GPs were interviewed. Some GPs were not familiar with the concept of being at-risk of developing psychosis, and they perceived that they may not have the right skills to identify this patient group. Other barriers related to patients not presenting or disclosing psychotic symptoms, and limitations imposed by scarce resources on the structure and provision of NHS services such as lack of continuity of care and high thresholds for accessing specialised services.

Conclusion
Identifying people at-risk of psychosis in primary care is difficult. Provision of training for GPs, development of policies that support continuity of care and improved access to specialised services could help improve the identification of this patient group.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbjgp20X713969
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • at-risk mental state
  • semi-structured interviews
  • general practice
  • psychosis

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