New mental health support service for GPs

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GPs suffering from stress, depression or addiction can seek help from a new multi-million pound support service in England.

The NHS GP Health Service offers specialist mental health support in a bid to “help retain a healthy and resilient workforce”.

The programme, announced last April, is part of a substantial package of measures outlined in NHS England’s report General Practice Forward View. It sets out how the organisation plans to “get general practice back on its feet” over the next few years, covering matters of investment, workforce, workload, infrastructure, and care redesign.

The new confidential service is backed with funding of up to £19.5 million over the next five years. It operates on a self-referral basis but is not intended for emergency or crisis issues. It is staffed by professionals specialising in mental health support to doctors who will be based in each of the 13 NHS England local team areas, available from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 2pm Saturday.

It is being provided by The Hurley Clinic Partnership who operate a similar service based in London – the NHS Practitioner Health Programme – for both doctors and dentists.

Help is available to GPs/trainee GPs who are registered on the National Performers List in England as well as to those looking to return to clinical practice after a period of absence. It can be accessed via phone (0300 0303 300), email (gp.health@nhs.net) and app.

Examples of support available include face-to-face general psychiatric support and treatment, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), group therapy, and support for addiction-related health problems.

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