GP Psychiatry Support Line

The GP Psychiatry Support Line is a free service for GPs aimed at helping them manage the care of their mental health consumers. Since its launch on 2 July 2018, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Dr Martin Cohen, Senior Consulting Psychiatrist at ProCare, the service provider for the line, has been fielding queries on phenomenology, diagnosis, and issues relating to safety. Dr Cohen says that the GPs he has advised are finding the service tremendously useful. “Many GPs normally have a three-to-six month wait to see a psychiatrist. The Support Line has helped many GPs get treatment underway far more efficiently and effectively.”

GPs have expressed their opinions regarding the support line. One GP from Sydney North PHN catchment stated, "Fantastic service - highly beneficial for timely management of more complex patients." Another GP from Western NSW catchment has said, “Great service to support GPs with clinical queries, especially when we have patients who refuse to seek mental health assessment. Thankful for the availability of such a service."

In addition to Dr Cohen, the current pool of psychiatrists servicing the line includes Dr David Burton, Dr Narayani Nair, Professor Sadanand Rajkumar and Dr Vineetha Edirisooriya. Guided by the principles of stepped care, the psychiatrists see the importance of supporting GPs so that mental health consumers are attended to in primary care. Ultimately, this helps reduce demand in the public system and acute care.

To date, there has been over 500 registrations and growing enthusiasm for the GP Psychiatry Support Line. To register for this free service, visit www.gpsupport.org.au and follow the links. For any further enquiries, call 1800 16 17 18.

If you have two minutes, the service is looking for your input to continuous improve and meet the needs of GPs. Click here to access the survey. Included in the survey is a section about webinars, which the team would much appreciate your input as to what topics are most relevant to you in your practice.

This service is supported by joint funding from Central and Eastern Sydney PHN, COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW PHN, Hunter New England and Central Coast PHN, Murrumbidgee PHN, Northern Sydney PHN and Western NSW PHN through the Australian Government’s PHN Program.