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GPs offered mindfulness for free to relieve winter pressures



GPs can access an app to practice mindfulness this winter, as part of a BMA campaign focused on doctors’ mental wellbeing.

According to the BMA, it is ‘not always easy’ for doctors to take any time out to focus on themselves while working under winter pressures.

The BMA is therefore offering all members two months’ free access to mindfulness app Headspace.

The BMA said: ‘Looking after your mental health and taking your breaks is essential while working under winter pressures or when you’re facing exams.

‘It’s important to give yourself the gift of five minutes and try to spend a small amount of time each day focusing on yourself.’

The BMA highlighted that mindfulness ‘can be an effective support for those experiencing routine stress, and has also been shown to help with more serious concerns like anxiety, depression and insomnia’.

‘Listening to their bite-sized guided meditation sessions can help you cope with working under winter pressures and exam stress,’ it added.

The news comes as the Government yesterday announced £335m in additional funding to relieve NHS winter pressures, however it specified this would go to NHS trusts rather than GP practices.

A recent Pulse survey of over 800 GPs revealed that almost half of GPs say their ability to care for patients has been affected by the stress of general practice.

Around one in nine GPs has turned to alcohol because of work pressures, with 6% turning to prescription drugs.

The survey also found that one in 10 GPs has taken time off work in the past 12 months because of stress or burnout, while a further 22% fear it is likely they will do so within the next year.

Meanwhile, the GP Health confidential counselling service, launched in January this year, has been inundated with GPs suffering with mental health concerns, including stress or depression, or addiction issues.