The NHS Staff and Learners’ Mental Wellbeing Commission has recommended that a wellbeing ‘check-in’ is provided to all postgraduate trainees within two weeks of starting a new rotation. The commission has also called for a national NHS ‘Samaritans-style’ service to be developed to provide emotional support to NHS staff and those learning in the NHS.
In its report, published this week, the group sets out 33 recommendations which address the culture of the NHS and aim to safeguard and support the mental health of NHS staff.
In the document, the commission highlights the emotional difficulties posed by the current system of allocating posts, which can often isolate doctors from their normal support system. The commission has called on Health Education England (HEE), medical schools, the UK Foundation Programme Office and the Royal Colleges to work with doctors in training to agree an allocation system “that is both just and more humane”.
It has also recommended that a national NHS protocol is implemented in every NHS organisation to independently examine the death by suicide of any member of NHS staff or a learner working in the NHS.
“The NHS is founded on a common set of principles and values that bind together the communities and people it serves - patients and public - and the staff who work for it. If we are caring and compassionate, then we should be able to demonstrate those values as employers in the way we look after our employees,” said Sir Keith Pearson, Chair of the commission.
While the commission heard evidence that the rate of suicide among doctors appears to be decreasing, Sir Pearson stressed that “one death by suicide in our workforce or among those who are learning in the NHS is one too many”.
The full report is available here.