As NHS England continues to stall on rolling out mental health support for GPs nationally, Hertfordshire LMC executive Dr Peter Graves has shown the way forward by winning a six-year battle for a scheme covering four areas.
And at a time when half of GPs are showing signs of a high risk of burnout, this is a crucial victory for the local health service and makes Dr Graves a worthy inclusion in the Power 50.
The tireless campaign led by Dr Graves and his LMC saw NHS Herts Valleys CCG, NHS North and East Hertfordshire CCG and NHS Luton CCG all commit to fund a practitioner health programme (PHP) that will allow GPs to self-refer to talk in confidence to a specialist as well as allow employer or GP referral. NHS Bedfordshire CCG also said it wanted to support the service, after it has addressed a £43m deficit.
Dr Graves is currently working with CCGs to develop a specification. He says: ‘The work on the PHP continues and I won’t relax on that one until the service is up and running for all my GPs and then all doctors working in the area.’
He continues: ‘I remain committed to supporting local GPs with serious personal and medical problems – learning that a local GP with a fairly serious addiction problem managed to return to work following detox and rehabilitation (with a lot of support and input from me) was really rewarding.’
Dr Graves is a shining example of an LMC leader who is making a massive difference locally.