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Independents' Day

GPs ‘rush’ to new national mental health support service on launch day

The new national GP mental health service saw ‘a rush’ when it opened on Monday, according to its medical director.

The Practitioner Health Programme (PHP), the national contractor for the service commissioned by NHS England, said they are expecting more than 50 GPs to have reached out for support by the end of the first week.

The £16m GP mental health scheme was announced in last year’s GP Forward View in recognition of the need to support GPs at risk of, and suffering from, stress, burnout and mental health conditions and came after years of Pulse campaigning.

Professor Clare Gerada, PHP medical director, said: ‘We have seen a rush, but we are managing. We have had well into double figures ring and email.’

She said PHP expects to be approached by around 50 GPs per month once the service has bedded down, but added: ‘I imagine by the end of the week we would have had more than a month in a week.’

Professor Gerada also told Pulse that PHP will focus the early development of the programme in northern England to combat significant ‘unmet need’ for support in that region.

This will begin with a burnout prevention day in York on 11 February.

The national launch comes as the London PHP service has already seen 10% of the London GP population, according to Professor Gerada.

She added: ‘Nationally, we’re focusing on the North, because we think there’s a lot of unmet need.

'We are focusing York upwards to start with. We have got doctors and therapists and we’re really trying to mobilise up there in a big way.’

GPs who were able to travel to London have been able to receive support since PHP was named national provider, and Professor Gerada said ‘double figures’ of GPs had also done this.

She added that PHP is hoping to be able to gather evidence via the scheme about the causes of GP stress and burnout, such as for example regulatory burden.

The launch comes after years of Pulse lobbying through the Battling Burnout campaign - which unveiled worrying levels of stress and burnout in the GP community.

Pulse also revealed that NHS England was defunding regional mental health services, despite worsening mental health among GP professionals.



Readers' comments (9)

  • I work 60 hours per week and as a group we get bullied by NHS England, Jeremy Hunt and various other organisations, the media etc.

    While I agree that "Mindfulness" might help-it does not address the increasingly unrealistic expectations made of GPs.

    To be honest, the NHS now needs to collapse so that something more sustainable can replace it.

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  • Vinci Ho

    It will be good to have some discriptive and statistical (as politicians love their figures) data on the pattern and range of problems/issues encountered, obviously with strict confidentiality. The impact of unsustainable workload , overegulation , medico-legal challenges , financial difficulties and not the least, personal circumstances, should all be addressed and tabulated some ways. This is a new territory of 'evidence based medicine' and the government cannot deny the facts being presented....

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  • I conducted an in-depth investigation into this issue which was broad in scope and studied a population numbering a whopping figure of one (ie myself), and I concluded that the RCGP colouring book was the answer; in fact the statistical analysis was such that to continue with the study would have been wholly un-ethical(/s).

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  • I looked at this email for the burnout prevention day in York. It costs 30 quid. Which other profession charges its staff to attend a course to counteract the effects of its own miserable cataclysm?

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  • Dear All,
    I would recommend anyone feeling stressed or in need of help to contact PHP. The service provided to London GPs by Professor Gerada and the PHP team is excellent and effective. The fact that it is now available across the Nation is to be welcomed. Regards
    Paul C

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  • As somebody who really struggled as an FY1 and nearly never got my career off the ground due to burnout. Its the only time I've ever really suffered from real stress in my life. I was referred to a training support union which I had to attend or else I would have been referred to fitness to practice, where I was met by a lovely lady about to go off on maternity leave who was asking me how I could better deal with stress. I was working 15 hour days. She didn't really have much of an answer to that conundrum. I was then referred for coaching... by the time I saw them I had changed rotation, had a manageable workload and my life wasn't shit anymore. So whilst this is a lovely gesture and some people find this stuff useful I would much prefer it if you funded general practice properly and curbed unrealistic demand. That is all thanks.

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  • Dear Valerie
    That is rather disingenuous of you
    1) £30 for a whole day is reasonable - when it includes all food, accommodation and staff running the day
    2) The advert quite clearly says that if there is a problem re the cost to contact us and we will provide lower cost
    3) the 'profession charging its staff' - i am not the profession and the attendees are not my staff.
    For what its worth - the group work is not funded through the commissioned service - but i feel its important to try and stem the flow of distress if we can and also see how we can provide help early. Maybe come along

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  • Dear Paul

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  • Council of Despair

    Salaried Valerie | Salaried GP30 Jan 2017 9:33pm

    I agree with your point that if we were properly looked after in the beginning i.e. 'prevention' we would not be in the mess we are now and having to 'treat' the problems partly caused by those who were supposed to speak up for us and represent us but who decided we were actually best placed to accept a never-ending workload.

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