Background and objectives: People with severe and persistent mental illness have increased psychosocial and physical morbidity. This study sought to understand patient engagement and satisfaction with general practice.
Method: A survey study of people attending community mental health clinics included Likert scale items about general practice engagement, satisfaction, access enablers and attendance challenges.
Results: Of 82 respondents, 85% had a regular general practitioner (GP), and 99% had visited a GP at least once in the past 12 months (32% had visited a GP >10 times). Eighty-eight per cent of respondents were satisfied with their current GP's care. Significantly more respondents were satisfied with the GP's focus on their physical than their mental health concerns (95% versus 76% respectively, P <0.05). Bulk billing, timely appointments and proximity were enablers of attendance for most respondents. The majority of participants disagreed that making, keeping or waiting for GP appointments was difficult.
Discussion: Closer collaboration with treating psychiatrists and case managers may increase GP engagement with patients' mental healthcare.