GPs are being encouraged to bring mental and physical services under one roof as part of plans to unite vital support for patients.

Under new NHS England plans, therapists would focus on common mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, particularly where this occurs in patients with a long-term physical health condition such as diabetes, respiratory or heart problems.

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, who offer help and support to patients in the county through their First Step and Children and Adolescent Mental Health services, welcomed the proposals, having spent a number of years offering services in surgeries where possible.

A spokesperson said: "In Cumbria, our Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Service (First Step) for mild to moderate mental health problems has been running for 10 years and already operates from all GP surgeries where space is available as well as other community venues.

"As we develop Integrated Care Communities across Cumbria, we are working with commissioners to deliver more mental health services locally into communities where possible and join up health services for our patients.

"For example, in South Cumbria we are working alongside community physiotherapists and respiratory specialists in order to increase access to these services for people with long term conditions.

"In addition, the base for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service will be part of the new Alfred Barrow 'super surgery' in Barrow."

The news comes as construction continues on the £12m ‘super surgery’ on the site of the former Alfred Barrow School on Duke Street, which is set to bring together multiple services including GP surgeries, a pharmacy and various community health services.

First announced in 2013, the healthcare centre is set to be the first of its kind in Cumbria and aims to provide patients with all the services they will need under one roof.

The project forms part of the Better Care Together strategy, which aims to integrate organisations to provide more services closer to home.

According to NHS England, figures show nine in 10 adults with mental health problems are supported in primary care.

They also claim local health services are better equipped to deal with patients mental and physical health needs by broadening the range of services available in one location.

Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s director for mental health, said: “Joining up talking therapy services in primary care settings is another big step forward for our patients and a key plank in putting mental health at the centre of the long-term plan for the NHS.

“We are on track to deliver 3,000 therapists in primary care, with over 800 in surgeries at the end of last year and this handy guidance should convince those practices that are yet to take the plunge of the benefits.”

People with a physical health condition are more likely than the rest of the population to experience mental ill health, according to health bosses.

More than 16 million people across the country are diagnosed with a long-term physical health condition, and one in three of this group will experience a mental health problem.

Dr Nikita Kanani, NHS England’s acting director of primary care, said: “General practice is the front door of the NHS.

“We continue to support the expansion of the workforce so patients have access to a range of different health professionals so that we can better support both their physical and mental health needs.”