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GPs to access mental health support from January

The national GP mental health support service will be available from January, with GPs invited to seek help face-to-face, online or via an app.

The 'world first' NHS GP Health Service, first announced in the GP Forward View in April, will be operate at 13 locations in England.

The free, confidential service will be available to any GP or trainee registered on the National Performers List or looking to return to clinical practice, and GPs can access it via a confidential national self-referral phone line, website and app.

It will provide:

  • General psychiatric assessment and treatment;
  • Support for addiction related health problems;
  • Psychotherapy one-to-one and group sessions.

The programme is run by Hurley Group Partnership, which already runs the London’s Practitioner Health Programme, with the GP Forward View pledging funding of 'up to' £19.5m over five years.

NHS England said the new service, which was announced after sustained lobbying by Pulse’s Battling Burnout campaign, will 'help retain a healthy and resilient workforce and support GPs and GP trainees who wish to remain in or return to clinical practice after a period of ill health'.

The mental health support service has been welcomed by GP leaders, but criticised for only accommodating GPs and not their staff. This comes as the Scottish Government has committed £920,000 to setting up an occupational health scheme including GPs and practice staff.

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