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Around 25% of people with schizophrenia have no specialist contact, but are looked after entirely in general practice. We aimed to determine the involvement of practice nurses in administering depot neuroleptics, and their needs for training in patient assessment. Methods included a postal survey of all practice nurses in one health authority, and interviews with practice nurses and expert nurse advisers, to explore attitudes and knowledge. Of 140 practices, 93 employed 194 practice nurses between them. Of the 192 nurses who responded to the survey, 131 (68%) were currently administering depot neuroleptics, to a total of 278 patients between them. For many patients, the nurse was their only regular professional contact. Few nurses had any mental health training, and levels of knowledge of schizophrenia, its treatment and drug side-effects, were often no better than a lay person's. A one-day course was developed, attended by 21 practice nurses, at which written and videotaped educational material was provided and feedback on its usefulness obtained. The course participants welcomed training in a brief structured assessment of depot neuroleptic patients to be carried out every three months. This should enable them to detect changes in mental state and other care needs, and to bring them to the doctor's attention.


Journal article


Primary Care Psychiatry

Publication Date





149 - 154