NHS to prioritise doctors’ mental health
NHS chief Simon Stevens recently announced a new mental health support scheme to cover all doctors working in the NHS.
Speaking at a conference on ‘Wounded Healers’, Simon Stevens announced national funding for a new scheme for all NHS doctors in England, covering an extra 110,000 doctors.
Over 1,500 GPs have been supported by the NHS GP Health Service, a nationally funded programme for GPs and trainees suffering from mental health issues that was launched by NHS England in 2017.
The current service for GPs is valued, with a recent survey suggesting 93% of patients were likely to recommend the service to others; 88% said it had a positive or very positive impact on their wellbeing and 78% of doctors said it had a positive or very positive impact on their ability to continue working.
The NHS long term plan, due to publish this autumn, will contain a renewed focus on mental health of both patients and staff.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: “The NHS is significantly improving mental health treatment for patients but sometimes doctors need our support too.
“This will mean the NHS will now have a more comprehensive national mental health support offer to doctors than any other country in the world.
“This new funding will help all doctors, giving them a safe, confidential service to turn to when they are struggling and need help.”
Currently support for the mental health of hospital doctors falls to NHS Trusts or NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) but provision is not universal, in London the CCGs worked together to commission the NHS Practitioner Health Programme to support all doctors (ex. GPs) and dentists.
Mr Stevens made the announcement to make the NHS Practitioner Health Programmeavailable across England at a conference to mark the tenth anniversary of the scheme. The new service will be procured over the next six to nine months.
Dr Clare Gerada, medical director of the NHS Practitioner Health Programme, said: “The last taboo in the NHS is the acknowledgement that doctors also have mental health problems and that they are not immune to the pressures we all face.
“We have shown that if you offer an accessible, confidential service then doctors will come for treatment, and not just come, they get better.
“I’m delighted Simon Stevens has announced extra funding to make this service available nationally, so doctors outside of London can access the support they need.”
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