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NHS expands doctor mental health scheme after GPs helped to continue working

Doctors across England will become eligible to access the mental health support service, after eight in 10 GPs who went through the programme said it helped them continue working.

Some 1,500 GPs have accessed the GP mental health service since it became nationally available in January 2017, following calls in Pulse’s Battling Burnout campaign.

The NHS Practitioner Health Programme (PHP), which supplies the service, is also available to London doctors who are not GPs.

But last month PHP medical director Professor Clare Gerada, a GP in southwest London, called for the scheme’s expansion to all doctors in England, amid news that 400 doctors have died by suicide in four years.  

Today, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens announced extended funding to cover 110,000 more doctors from across England.

He said this comes as 78% of GPs accessing the programme have reported it had a positive or very positive impact on their ability to continue working.

He said: ‘This new funding will help all doctors, giving them a safe, confidential service to turn to when they are struggling and need help.’

Professor Gerada said: ‘We have shown that if you offer an accessible, confidential service then doctors will come for treatment, and not just come, they get better.

‘I’m delighted Simon Stevens has announced extra funding to make this service available nationally, so doctors outside of London can access the support they need.’


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