is one the most common reasons people see
their GP, and yet in about three million people
nearly half of cases it is not
diagnosed, a new report has found.
Report author Dr Simon Gilbody said: Depression
affects around 10% of the population, but
the vast majority go to their GP with unspecific
physical complaints, and too often their depression
remains unrecognised or inappropriately managed.
Without proper diagnosis and treatment, depressed
people can put pressure on overstretched NHS
resources, using services up to twice as much
as non-depressed patients.
Clinical lecturer in psychiatry, Dr Gilbody
worked with researchers at the universities
of Newcastle, York, Aberdeen and Ottawa to
analyse various studies looking at diagnosis
and treatment of depression. The findings
of the report, Effective Health Care, will
be disseminated to GPs, policy makers and
The most effective initiatives for patients
with depression, such as telephone helplines,
counselling and medication monitoring were
shown to be cost effective and successful,
but these require greater numbers of primary
care workers. Although the recent NHS plan
aims to recruit another 1,000 primary care
mental health workers by 2004, more still
needs to be done, the report concluded.
The report can be downloaded at http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/crd/ehcb.htm
and will be published in the Cochrane Health
Library, available through the University