At the recent Wounded Healer conference in London, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens announced national funding for the roll out of the scheme which is modelled on the London-based NHS GP Health Service which was launched in early 2017 and has already provided support to more than 1,500 GPs and trainees experiencing mental health issues.
The current service for GPs has shown itself to be highly valued, with a recent survey suggesting 93 per cent of users were likely to recommend the service to others. Eighty-eight per cent said it had a positive or very positive impact on their wellbeing and 78 per cent said it had a positive or very positive impact on their ability to continue working.
The new funding will extend the scheme to an additional 110,000 doctors.
Making the announcement, Mr Stevens said: “The NHS is significantly improving mental health treatment for patients, but sometimes their doctors need our support too. This new funding will help all NHS doctors by providing a safe, confidential non-stigmatising service to turn to when they are struggling and need help. It means the NHS will now have the most comprehensive national mental health support offer to doctors of any country’s health system in the world.”
Speaking on behalf of the BMA, Dr Anthea Mowat welcomed the decision.
“By ensuring our doctors are happy and healthy, the NHS can benefit not just in terms of staff morale, but also improved patient outcomes, lower sickness absence rates and better workforce retention,” she said.