Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live today to discuss GP care for patients with insomnia and whether there is enough training for GPs in this area.
She said: “Insomnia can have very real and negative effects on the quality of life of our patients – and GPs are highly trained to take into account the physical, psychological and social factors that might be contributing to it.
“While sleeping tablets might seem like the mostobvious treatment to many patients, they are rarely effective and may actually cause other longer term health consequences, so GPs will only use them as a last resort, once other treatment options have been explored.
“Stress, anxiety and lifestyle factors, such as drinking alcohol or caffeine, can all contribute to insomnia and effective treatments can include looking into a patient’s ‘sleep hygiene’, asking them to conduct sleep self-assessments and, in some cases, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
“Achieving parity of esteem between physical and mental health is an enduring priority for the RCGP and we have developed toolkits to support GPs and other healthcare professionals to deliver the best possible care to our patients with mental health conditions, including insomnia. The Collegealso continues to call for enhanced GP training to include mandatory specialist training in mental health.”
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Notes to editor
The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 50,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.