NHS GP Health Service
Date sent: Thursday 30 March 2017
Email sent by Wessex LMCs, on Thursday, 30 Mar 2017
As GPs we are really good at looking after our patients health and wellbeing but we are really poor at looking after ourselves. This is particularly true of issues related to mental health and substance misuse.
We are only human and these things can happen to GPs as well as to our patients. The problem is that GPs frequently leave things and do not consult with their GP and tend to hide issues to do with mental health and substance misuse because of the stigma attached to it.
Did you know:
- In the UK about 10-20% of doctors become depressed – in the US this is reported to be 25%
- Doctors experience more mental health problems than other profession
- There is a high suicide rate in doctors, especially women
- In the US, 10% of doctors develop substance misuse
- The rate of burn out in a Canadian study in 2014 46% of doctors suffered from moderate or severe burnout.
The MPS has reported that about 85% of doctors will suffer from a type of mental illness in their professional lifetime. This will include:
- Stress (75%)
- Anxiety (49%)
- Low self esteem (36%)
- Depression (32%)
- Suicidal feelings (13%)
- Heavy workload (76%)
- Long working hours (70%)
So we know there is a significant problem and we know that we are not good at seeking help – so is there something that could help GPs who find themselves in this situation?
A new service was recently introduced called – the NHS GP Health Service.
This is a free and confidential service aimed at GPs and GP trainees working in general practice who are suffering from mental health or addiction issues.
The service can help local GPs with:
- Common and more complex mental health conditions
- Mental health conditions caused by physical health issues
- Substance misuse including support for community detoxification
- Rehabilitation and support to return to work after a period of mental ill-health.
This service can be accessed by:
- Any GP or GP trainee who is registered on the national performers list
- Any GP or GP trainee who is returning to clinical practice after a period of absence.
This is a national service but is delivered locally. The LMC has met with a couple of local GPs who are involved with the assessments, management and who have access to specialist services such CBT.
This is not an occupational health service and it does not replace your GP or mainstream NHS services, it is a treatment service. The service is confidential and plays no part in the performance procedures and is definitely not an agent of the GMC.
What can you expect from the service?
Initial contact can be via telephone or email. The service will engage with you and then offer you’re an initial assessment which will be via the telephone. If appropriate you will be invited to a more in-depth consultation with one of the clinicians who work for the services, this consultation will usually be with a GP and last for about 90 minutes. They will then develop a care or treatment plan with you and may sign post you to other locally available services. There are also further specialist assessments and treatments available.
What treatments are available?
- Assessments and case management provided by GPs, psychiatrists and specialist mental heath and addiction nurses.
- General psychiatry
- Addiction psychiatry
- Psychological therapies e.g. CBT
- Short term psychotherapeutic interventions
- In patient treatment is also available for the rare case when this is required.
Is this confidential or will this be reported to NHS England, the CCG, my practice or my GP?
Yes it is confidential and GPs as patients within this service can expect the same level of confidentially as a patient accessing these services on the NHS. The GP Health Service will not disclose information to third parties unless there is a legal, regulatory or public interest reason to do so. The GPs consent would be sought prior to disclosure.
Is this a new service that has recently been designed for GPs?
No this is not a new service but has been developed from a long established service called the Practitioner Health programme that has been working in London over the last 9 years and has an excellent track record for supporting doctors, helping them manage their problems and getting them back to work.
- Once a doctor is in a confidential system and becomes a patients they generally do well – it only takes a minute to take off “the white coat”.
- 90+% of doctors with addiction problems abstain after 6 months – this has been shown to be sustained after 6 years.
- ¾ stay in or return to work even those who have been off on long term sick leave.
How can you access this service?
It is for self-referral only and available 8.00 - 20.00 weekdays and 8.00 – 14.00 on Saturdays (except bank holidays)
Dr Nigel Watson
Churchill House, 122-124 Hursley Rd
Chandler's Ford, Eastleigh
Hants. SO53 1JB (Registered Office)