The Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) will launch the Integrated Mental Health Service, a new community service, at Al Thumama Health Centre from Tuesday as a pilot project.
The service will be gradually be made available at other health centres.
The service will accept referrals from Al Thumama, Airport, Umm Ghuwailina, Al Wakra, and Mesaimeer health centres in the initial stage.
This service is also fulfilling one of the aims of the National Health Strategy that by 2020 the primary care in Qatar must provide about 20% of the mental health services currently provided in hospitals.
This new service aims to provide full mental health services, such as diagnosing and preparing full treatment plans, and follow-up plans for patients who used to be referred earlier to Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Psychiatry Hospital.
The service features integrated mental care, improved patient experience, and clinical results which will lead to decreased appointment waiting time in secondary care.
The PHCC has focused on providing this service through its 27 health centres covering all areas in Qatar.
The PHCC has provided training to more than 500 of its clinical staff and 1,800 nurses to have full awareness and clinical proficiency to identify and diagnose symptoms, and manage common mental issues such as anxiety, depression, and mental health diseases.
The PHCC has also launched its “Support Clinic” at five health centres: Leabaib, Rawdat Al Khail, Al Thumama, Al Wajbah, and Qatar University.
This was achieved through collaboration between several community entities under the “Better Together” initiative.
The mental health services at the “Support Clinics” include early diagnosis and clinical check-up by physicians, who identify and evaluate the level of mental cases, between light to medium.
All physicians can identify the common mental health symptoms and provide consultations, and even make required internal referrals to the “Support Clinics”, and issue prescriptions.
The PHCC also plays a vital role in spreading awareness on mental health issues among public and the staff of PHCC, emphasising the right of patients to receive the proper treatment.
The PHCC registered 332,444 patients visits last year, with 180,094 female (54%) and 152,350 male (46%).
Over 6,351 cases were identified with light to medium anxiety and depression factors, of which 3,438 were anxiety cases and 2,913 depression factors.
All these cases were managed properly, and 1,496 cases were referred to secondary care.
The PHCC aims to develop psychiatry services within primary care and ensure continuity of care, obtaining multiple specialisations and case managements programmes through constant co-operation and joint efforts with secondary care providers such as HMC and Sidra Medicine.