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Mental health support to be launched for GPs

Scheme is described as a ‘world first’

Jo Carlowe

Friday, 07 October 2016

A nationwide NHS GP Health service will be launched next year to provide mental health support to general practitioners. 

NHS England has said the £19.5m service will be introduced in January 2017 with the aim of improving access to mental health support for GPs and trainee GPs who may be suffering from mental ill-health including stress and burnout. 

Speaking to OnMedica, Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the British Medical Association’s GP Committee, welcomed the scheme. 

“We have been campaigning for years for a more comprehensive mental health service for GPs, not least as the numbers of GPs struggling with burnout and stress, due often to rising workload pressures, has increased.  We welcome the investment being made in this important area and hope this new service will provide an opportunity to support these doctors as quickly as possible.”

The Hurley Clinic Partnership, who currently provide the NHS Practitioner Health Programme, has been appointed to run a free, confidential service for any GP or trainee registered on the National Performers List or looking to return to clinical practice.

Available in 13 areas across the country, the NHS GP Health Service will be accessible via a confidential national self-referral phone line, website and app, enabling GPs and GP trainees to seek information about the services available, access self-help tools, and access clinical support.

The service is the world’s first nationally-funded health service of its kind for general practice.

NHS England has worked with the BMA’s General Practitioner Committee, Health Education England, the Royal College of General Practitioners, and the General Medical Council to develop a service that responds to issues that GPs have highlighted as priorities.

Some examples of the support that will be available include face-to-face services offering:

·        General psychiatric assessment and treatment.

·        Support for addiction related health problems.

·        Psychotherapy one-to-one and group sessions.

NHS England states the scheme forms an important part of its commitment ‘to retain a healthy and resilient workforce for the benefit of both staff and patients.’

 

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