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GP burnout to be tackled in national scheme, Stevens pledges

2 September 2015

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A “new nationally-specified” £5m occupational health service for GPs suffering from burnout and stress will be available from April, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, announced today.

NHS England will develop a national service specification for procurement regionally from 1 April 2016.

It will be supported by specialist services for doctors, building on those which have been successfully developed.

The release reads: “Increasing pressures in general practice are one of the reasons why GPs leave the profession. Occupational health services are available across the whole of England but with varying levels of follow-up services depending on local commissioning arrangements by CCGs.”

Stevens gave examples of successful similar schemes, including The London Practitioner Health Programme, funded by CCGs in and around London.

This is a confidential, NHS treatment service for doctors, and dentists who are unable to access confidential care through mainstream NHS routes due to the nature of their role and/or health condition.

It was set up in 2008 and has seen and treated more than 1,600 practitioner patients since then, with mental health or addiction problems.

Similarly services that Stevens mentioned as examples were: House Concern, a specialist service in the Northern region; Somerset Clinician Support Service, and; MedNet, a service provided by South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and the Tavistock.

Under this new wellbeing scheme Stevens said NHS staff aged over 40 could get the NHS health check at work, and NHS England would “provide specific capacity” to access physiotherapy and mental health talking therapies, as well as smoking cessation and weight management services.

Moreover, there will be a push to ensure patients and staff are always offered healthy options in restaurants, cafes and vending machines on site, and a local “physical activity offer” will be given to staff, such as yoga classes, as well as offering the Cycle to Work scheme.

A board level director lead and senior clinician will be appointed champion of this work, and training will be given to all line managers to help them support their staff’s health and wellbeing.