When dealing with “lack of time” issues around mental health consultations, this is one of my approaches.
Firstly, we address safety. Once safe and other supports are in place, we now have some “luxury” around time.
There’s often a strong belief in General Practice, that we don’t have enough time with our patients. It is true, and at the same time, there is an alternative perspective. In General Practice, we do have a whole lifetime with them as opposed to Doctors in Emergency Departments or other hospital settings. The end of a consultation is not the end. It’s simply a pause. The “total” time we have is just not in one session, but it’s over many.
We can see them for 20mins here and 15mins there, and at times, 40mins here and a 5mins phone check up there. Sometimes, we can choose to see them for shorter appointments but very regularly, rather than longer appointments but then further spaced apart.
Looking after our patients in primary care is more like a marathon than a sprint. We don’t always have to do everything, all in the one go.