MPs call for action over ‘unacceptable’ rate of suicide
The current rate of suicide is ‘unacceptable’, leading MPs have said, as they called for GPs to receive better training in assessing a patient’s risk.
The Health Select Committee said that it had heard evidence that clinicians sometimes fail to recognise patients who are suicidal.
It called on the General Medical Council, Royal College of GPs and Health Education England to improve training for students and clinicians in the assessment of suicide risk.
Around a third of people who end their lives by suicide are in contact with their GP before their death, but are not receiving specialist mental health services, MPs said.
Meanwhile, the committee said it was ‘unacceptable’ that only 60 per cent of people who present at emergency departments for self-harm receive a psycho-social assessment when self-harm is the single biggest indicator of suicide risk.
And MPs expressed disappointment that the Government had not acted on a previous recommendation calling for all patients who are discharged from inpatient care to receive follow-up checks within three days.
‘We remain concerned that the ongoing workforce shortfall is the key barrier to this goal,’ they wrote.
The MPs said that the Government’s suicide prevention strategy needs greater focus on implementation.
Chairwoman of the Health Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, said: “The clear message we have heard throughout our inquiry is that suicide is preventable.
“The current rate of suicide is unacceptable and is likely to under-represent the true scale of the loss of life.
“If the Government wishes to be truly ambitious in reducing the toll of suicide, there are many further steps which it could take, which we have set out in this report. The Government must prioritise effective implementation of its strategy because without it, any strategy is of very limited value.”
In 2015, there were 4,820 people recorded as having died by suicide in England, but MPs said the figure is likely to be ‘much higher’.
Picture: File photo dated 09/03/15 of a woman with her head in her hands. (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire).Tags: GPs, mental health, MPs, rate, suicide, training, unacceptable