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OnePlusOne response: CAB report says a fifth of GPs’ time is spent on “social issues” including problems with personal relationships

By OnePlusOne, 20 May 2015 Behaviour change, Communication, Early intervention, Health, Mental health, Strengthening relationships, Stress

A new report from Citizens Advice, “A very general practice”, estimates that GPs in England spend one fifth of their time dealing with “social issues that are not principally about health”. The non-health concern raised most with GPs is problems with personal relationships.

When patients raised these issues, only one third of GPs said they advise patients adequately themselves.

Penny Mansfield CBE, Director of the relationship research and support charity OnePlusOne, said:

“There is clear evidence1 which tells us that the quality of relationships – family relationships, friendships, relationships at work – can have an enormous impact on all aspects of people’s lives, including their health.”

She added:
“We also know from evidence2, 3 that GPs are often the first port of call when people experience problems at home.”

In response to that, OnePlusOne developed an e-learning module, in association with the Royal College of GPs, specifically to provide a way of helping GPs assess their patient’s relationship problems. It’s a simple tool with a traffic light system and sign-posts to a spectrum of support from DIY tools to counselling. It equips GPs to respond effectively, appropriately and sensitively”.

The use of the relationship assessment tool allows GPs to make the best use of their time and resources and provide sign-posting to specialist support where needed.

OnePlusOne is a charity that aims to bring the latest relationship research to real lives; helping individuals, families and organisations build healthy, resilient relationships through a range of online resources.


1 Understanding Relationship Quality, Reynolds, Houlston and Coleman (2014).
2 British Social Attitudes, 25th report, 2008/9 edition, chapter: “Therapy Culture? Attitudes towards emotional support in Britain”, page 160.
3 Relationships Matter: Understanding the Needs of Adults (Particularly Parents) Regarding Relationship Support, Walker et al (2010), page 79.

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