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GPs to access free burnout service from January 2017

GPs will be able to access a free confidential service to provide them with psychotherapy assessment and treatment from January 2017, NHS England has announced today.

The service, which NHS England chief executive said was a result of Pulse’s Battling Burnout campaign, will cost £19.5 million – an increase on the £16 million originally announced.

Under the service, GPs will be able to access face-to-face support across 13 regions in England for general psychiatric assessment and treatment, addiction related health problems and one-to-one and group psychotherapy sessions.

It will be run by the Hurley Clinic Partnership, whose partner Professor Clare Gerada currently provides the NHS Practitioner Health Programme (PHP).

Dr Gerada also told Pulse that they were working to make sure the existing PHP service could be opened up to doctors from outside London before the new year, so they could immediately begin supporting those who needed help most.

The new national service will be accessible via a confidential national self-referral phone line, website and app, NHS England says.

GPs and trainees will be able to seek information about the services available, access self-help tools and access clinical support.

An NHS England statement said: ‘The service is the world’s first nationally-funded health service of its kind for general practice, a clear signal of NHS England’s commitment to help retain a healthy and resilient workforce and in supporting GPs and GP trainees who wish to remain in or return to clinical practice after a period of ill health.’

Pulse first launched its Battling Burnout campaign in 2013, with a survey of 1,800 GPs finding that 46% are at high risk of burnout.

In May 2014, NHS England chair Professor Malcolm Grant said it would offer a ‘comprehensive’ burnout service for GPs.

However, it was only a year later – in September 2015 – that Mr Stevens confirmed plans for a new ‘national specification’ for the service.

And in April 2016, the GP Forward View said that NHS England would devote £16 million funding to the burnout service.

But the latest announcement has revealed that it will increase the funding to £19.5 million, with the extra coming from ’Primary Care Transformation funding’, NHS England said.

Dr Gerada told Pulse: ‘This really is good news, it’s the first time - I think anywhere in the world - that public money has been put toward supporting a profession in this way.

‘And we’re going to try and develop, right from prevention to treatment, a whole range of services right across the country.’

‘The national service will only be for GPs, unlike the PHP service in London which is for all clinicians, and will go live in the regions in January, but Dr Gerada told Pulse: ‘Even before then, if there are struggling GPs able to travel to London before we get the system up and running across the country, then we can try and accommodate that early. They don’t need to suffer in silence now. We can start address those who need our help the most immediately, not today or tomorrow, but hopefully in the next two to three weeks.’

‘There’s no bad about this, it’s really good for GPs, and it’s right to recognise Pulse for [their work on this].’



Readers' comments (36)

  • David Wrigley

    If the govt made a decision to fund the NHS to the level of EU average then it wouldn't be necessary to have a 'burnout helpline' for doctors on the verge of a breakdown. Shame on NHS England and shame on this govt.

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  • The service will enrich provider.
    Psychology can't solve GP burnout.
    I tried it...told get out of job

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  • I had a great cure for my burnout. It's called resigning from partnership. All the counselling in the world would not enable me to have the solid nights sleep I now experience, free from contract.

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  • I was taught that when someone has work stress there is no point having time off treating depression etc then coming back to exact same job as same thing will happen. They have to discuss changes to the job with their boss or I keep signing them off.
    That doesn't seem to be happening here.
    Its a bit like losing weight on the Atkins diet or whatever than going back to your old diet that made you fat but expecting not to get fat again.
    I think Einstein said something about idiots expecting different outcomes when continueing to do the same thing didn't he?

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  • To avoid confusion, the tailored and targeted psychotherapy for GPs should best be called HURLEYTHERAPY

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  • I'll have to be careful or my sympathetic tho' frank comments may be blocked as they were from the Editor's blog !!

    I'm delighted for GPs that they will soon have rapid free access for help with stress related conditions. As Victoria Cleak courageously points out, I agree, it's a pity that, because of the shortage of NHS psychotherapists & counsellors, the GP's patients in similar states will have to wait for months if they can't afford £60 +/hr for private help !
    Dare I suggest too that it's not only GPs who are at risk of 'burnout' in the NHS AND other 'caring' professions !
    Also, as the psychotherapist contributor points out, personal & external circumstances often HAVE to change for recovery to take place. Perhaps it is unfair to put all the blame on 'needy' & demanding patients when the responsibility for the cause lies elsewhere ?

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  • Where are the therapists coming from-isn't there supposedly a shortage for the rest of the population? Anyone need a nice part time job?

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  • You and I both Shaba. Too late........

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  • Dear anonymous

    I have never surveyed anyone on burn out !

    I have treated 3000 doctors with mental health problems

    And the money divided by number of GPs works out at around £63 per GP per year - so not sure that's going to go far if handed to each rather than provide a coordinated service

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