Cluster randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness of primary care mental health workers

Helen Lester, Nick Freemantle, Sue Wilson, H Sorohan, Elizabeth England, Carl Griffin, Aparna Shankar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Mental health issues are a core part of the work of primary care and are the second most common reason for consultations. There is some evidence that the quality of primary care mental health provision is variable. AIM: To evaluate the effectiveness of primary care mental health workers with regards to satisfaction with care, mental health symptoms, use of the voluntary sector, and cost effectiveness of care. DESIGN OF STUDY: Cluster randomised controlled trial. SETTING: Practices in the Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust, Birmingham, England. METHOD: Nineteen practices and 368 patients (18 to 65 years of age) with a diagnosis of a new or ongoing common mental health problem were recruited. Sixteen practices and 284 patients completed the trial. RESULTS: Patients in intervention practices had a higher mean level of general satisfaction than those in control practices (difference between group scores of 8.3, 95% confidence interval = 1.3 to 15.3, P = 0.023). The two groups did not differ in mental health symptom scores or use of the voluntary sector. CONCLUSION: For patients with common mental health problems, primary care mental health workers may be effective at increasing satisfaction with an episode of care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-203
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number536
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2007


  • personal satisfaction
  • mental health
  • treatment effectiveness
  • primary health care


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