People living with psychotic illness 2010

General practitioner services

Page last updated: November 2011

General practitioners play a key role in providing health care to people living with psychotic illness, not only treating their physical conditions, but also in providing mental health services.

The majority of people with psychotic illness (88.2%) visited a general practitioner in the past year, which is slightly higher than access by the general population (79.3%).

Half (49.3%) saw their general practitioner for a mental health related visit, whilst 76.3% had a general physical health visit.

  • One in ten (9.4%) had a general practitioner mental health care plan.
  • People with psychotic illness visited a general practitioner on average 9 times in the past year and one quarter (28.8%) averaged over 12 visits in the past year. This compares to a general population average of 5 visits a year.
Further information was obtained from the general practitioner of survey participants.
  • The majority (83.2%) saw the same general practitioner at each visit.
  • Two thirds of people (65.4%) averaged 10-19 minute consultations (figure 16).
  • Only 1.2% had longer consultations of 40 minutes or more.
  • The most common reason for a general practitioner visit was for a new prescription (68.8%) or a blood test (52.8%) (figure 17).
  • In terms of mental health related visits, 42.0% had attended to have psychotic symptoms reviewed, almost one third (31.3%) had attended for depression and one third (30.3%) for anxiety.
  • Most (86.5%) treated their patient in collaboration with a mental health team.
  • In the past 12 months, general practitioners had treated one third of participants (32.2%) for metabolic, cardiovascular or kidney disorders and had referred 11.4% for further specialist treatment.
When asked the top three difficulties in treatment of people with psychotic illness, general practitioners noted treatment non-adherence (22.1%) at the top of their difficulties, however, 44.3% noted no difficulties in treating people with psychotic illness.

When asked to name the top three challenges faced by people living with psychotic illness, 41.3% of general practitioners listed social isolation, 37.7% lack of employment and 37.5% financial problems (figure 18).

Top of page

Figure 16: Consultation length in minutes


Refer to the following list for a text equivalent of figure 16: consultation length in minutes

Text version of figure 16

Consultation length in minutes:
  • Less than 10 - 10.4%
  • 10 to 19 - 65.4%
  • 20 to 29 - 17.8%
  • 30 to 39 - 3.4%
  • 40 to 49 - 0.6%
  • 50 or more - 0.6%
  • Not known - 1.8%
Top of page

Figure 17: Reason for consultation with general practitioner


Refer to the following list for a text equivalent of figure 17: reason for consultation with general practitioner
Top of page

Text version of figure 17

Reason for consultation with general practitioner:
  • Prescription (new or repeat) - 68.8%
  • Blood tests - 52.8%
  • Other physical health - 45.6%
  • Reviewing psychotic symptoms - 42.0%
  • General check up - 35.3%
  • BP &/or cardiovascular check - 35.0%
  • Depression - 31.3%
  • Anxiety - 30.3%
  • Weight gain &/or diet related - 29.1%
  • Sleep disturbance - 21.9%
  • Respiratory problems - 21.6%
  • Flu injection - 20.3%
  • Other psychological symptoms - 18.6%
  • Drug and/or alcohol problems - 15.9%
  • Sexual/ reproductive health issues - 13.4%
  • Medical certificate or form - 13.4%
  • Receive depot medication - 11.3%
  • Diabetes - 11.1%
  • Other - 9.3%
Top of page

Figure 18: Top three challenges for people with psychotic illness identified by their general practitioner


Refer to the following list for a text equivalent of figure 18: top three challenges for people with psychotic illness identified by their general practitioner
Top of page

Text version of figure 18

Top three challenges for people with psychotic illness identified by their general practitioner:
  • Social isolation - 41.3%
  • Lack of employment - 37.7%
  • Financial problems - 37.5%
  • Uncontrolled symptoms of mental illness - 32.2%
  • Poor physical health/ medication side effects - 30.5%
  • Stigma/ discrimination - 20.5%
  • Other - 14.5%
  • Lack of suitable housing - 11.8%
  • No family or carer - 8.6%
  • Inability to access specialised mental health services (including psychiatrists) - 5.9%
  • Difficulty getting a medical appointment - 3.1%