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BMA calls for GP practices to have relaxation spaces to ensure staff wellbeing

The BMA has urged NHS employers to tackle work-related mental health issues, following the release of a new report.

The mental wellbeing charter, released today by the BMA, has called on all NHS trusts and employers in the healthcare sector to make changes in the workplace to better support their doctor’s mental health and welfare. 

It includes implementing changes such as creating safe and healthy workspaces where staff and students can sleep and socialise, and developing a wellbeing strategy. 

A recent Pulse investigation revealed that high GP workload has resulted in many GPs suffering stress and mental and physical exhaustion.   

Under the charter, the BMA drew a series of actions for NHS employers to take in order to create healthy workplaces, including the provision of spaces where staff and students can rest, socialise, sleep and prepare food.

The charter said: ‘This charter sets out practical actions employers can take to build a supportive culture, develop a wellbeing strategy, create healthy workplaces, tackle the stigma around mental ill-health, foster peer support, and ensure support services are accessible and high-quality.

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‘Provide spaces to rest and socialise, ensuring access to break rooms where staff and students can socialise, relax, sleep and prepare food.’

BMA junior doctor committee chair Dr Sarah Hallett said: ‘Doctors across the NHS are working in an increasingly pressured environment, in a service that has seen systemic underfunding year upon year. It is unsurprising that working in such difficult conditions takes a significant toll.

‘Doctors accept that their role will at times be challenging and emotionally demanding; this is the nature of our jobs. But when those entrusted to delivering care for patients need care themselves due in part to their workplace pressures, we have a problem.

‘By adopting the steps in this charter, employers can begin to make the necessary improvements for their staff.’

Earlier this year, Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG said GPs would soon be able to access a mental health helpline via NHS 111 for themselves and their patients.

Health Education England previously called on NHS England to establish a mental health support service for GPs, ‘with the aim of providing a complete emotional support service to NHS staff and those learning in the NHS’