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Burnt out GPs to access new services in landmark victory for Pulse campaign

NHS England is investing £16m in mental health support for GPs, as part of a new national service in a major victory for Pulse’s long-running Battling Burnout campaign.

The General Practice Forward View said the new service will see all GPs able to access free and confidential support locally for mental health issues, stress and burnout across England.

NHS England said it expects the new service to be up and running from December this year, with procurement due to start in June.

The announcement said the £16m was in addition to £3.5m it has already announced it would spend on the new national occupational health service.

NHS England outlined other aspects of the service earlier this month, including access to needle stick services and ability to refer themselves to a service that will assess their fitness to work.

The Forward View document said: ‘A new national service is being established to improve GPs’ access to mental health support… NHS England has already committed to spend up to £3.5 million in this new service, and will now increase that investment by a further £16 million.

‘The procurement will start in June 2016 and the service is expected to be available across England from December 2016. This means all GPs will be able to access free, confidential local support and treatment for mental health issues, supporting GPs who are at risk of suffering stress or burnout.’

NHS England said the £16m was part of a £56m ‘practice resilience package’, which would be rolled out over the next five years, although there was little detail on what this would entail.

The Forward View said that ’£40 million will now be committed to develop a practice resilience programme, starting with a £16 million boost in 2016/17’.

It added: ’We will work with the RCGP and the BMA to develop this programme as quickly as possible, and consider introducing practice resilience teams’.

Pulse’s Battling Burnout campaign has been calling for comprehensive mental health support to be available to all GPs since 2013, in conjunction with a major programme to track and unveil the growing number of GPs struggling with workload stress and becoming at risk of debilitating burnout.

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