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NHS England U-turns on plans to cut practitioner mental health service

NHS England U-turns on plans to cut practitioner mental health service

NHS England has U-turned on plans to cut funding for a mental health support service following strong criticism from the profession, and will allow new registrations from hospital doctors for another year.

On Friday, Practitioner Health said NHS England is ‘undertaking a review’ for the support offer across all NHS staff groups, to consider ‘long term sustainable options’.

This meant that the service would not accept any new registrations from secondary care staff from today, but would continue to treat existing patients.

The decision was strongly criticised by doctors, including the BMA and the Doctors’ Association UK, who said it was ‘short-sighted’ and ‘cruel’.

Now, NHS England has agreed to ‘extend the service’ for secondary care health professionals by 12 months while a review is carried out.

It confirmed that the service will remain in place for GPs and other primary care staff for another 12 months until the end of March next year.

NHSE chief workforce officer Dr Navina Evans said: ‘Following discussions with Practitioner Health on their current service for secondary care doctors, dentists and senior staff, we have jointly agreed to extend the service by 12 months, for both existing and new service users, while we carry out a wider review to ensure that all NHS staff groups have the mental health support they need.’

Professor Dame Clare Gerada, an ambassador for NHS Practitioner Health who is also a GP, said she was ‘delighted’ that the extension was agreed and that the service will ‘work closely’ with NHS England on the review.

The service provides treatment to healthcare professionals who are mentally unwell, supporting them to remain in or return safely to work. 

Last year, Pulse reported that around 5% of GPs in England were accessing mental health services via NHS Practitioner Health – despite the service only intending to reach between 0.5% and 1% of GPs when it began nationwide in 2016.


Visit Pulse Reference for details on 140 symptoms, including easily searchable symptoms and categories, offering you a free platform to check symptoms and receive potential diagnoses during consultations.


Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Northern Trainer 15 April, 2024 8:44 pm

Usual amount of engagement and consultation then?? How many meetings did this take our zoomtastic “managers” and their assistants to come up with I wonder. What a waste of tax-payers’ money and sacrificed clinical budget these folk truly are.

So the bird flew away 16 April, 2024 11:49 am

NHSE must have Theresa Mary’s playbook on U-turns. That one was so fast it’s given me whiplash.