Research priorities for primary care mental health: A Delphi exercise
James P., Aitken P., Burns T.
Mental health problems make up a large proportion of a general practitioner's (GPs) workload. Research in this area is recognized as being limited and steps have been taken to increase capacity. New research projects should be driven by the priorities identified by primary care workers and the users of services as well as academic researchers. The aim of this study was to identify local research priorities for primary care mental health. A three-round conventional Delphi exercise that involved 33 GPs, primary care nurses, users of primary care services and clinical researchers was used. Twenty-two items were identified as being 'very important'. Four topic areas achieved the highest consensus and were represented by the most items: These were 'counselling in primary care', 'the use of antidepressants', 'the use of registers for severely mentally ill people' and 'the primary-secondary care interface'. Despite using a disparate sample it was possible to identify clear research priorities and achieve high levels of consensus. Delphi exercises are a useful method of identifying research priorities and the findings of the current study should guide future local research in the area of primary care mental health.