Evaluation of primary mental health care in North West province – a qualitative view
Background. Owing to many complaints by health care workers and patients and a perceived poor standard of care, the mental health care services in North West province were assessed using quantitative and qualitative methods. The Mental Health Care Act of 2002 makes provision for the integration of services into primary health care. Previously, dedicated mental health care co-ordinators were doing the bulk of the management of this category of patients.
Methodology. The qualitative part of the study consisted of free attitude interviews with professional nurses at clinics and focus group interviews with patients, caregivers and mental health care co-ordinators.
Results. There was general satisfaction with the current services. Some dissatisfaction was expressed regarding issues of individualised care versus integration into the general primary care services. Concerns were expressed about resource constraints – in terms of human and physical resources, communication, training, and the role of specialised care.
Conclusion. This study highlights issues around integration
of mental health care services into primary care, and has
provided information for managers and clinicians to utilise in
the improvement of mental health care.
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