Mental Health: is enough being done to help doctors?

Mental Health Doctors

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that between 2011 and 2015, 430 doctors in England took their own lives. There are growing concerns that some medical professionals in England are unable to get the help they might need.

Mental health charity Mind, recently conducted a survey of more than 1,000 GPs which showed that 40% have experienced a mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder at some point in their career. Despite these figures, many doctors still might feel that they are unable to talk to colleagues or bosses for support. Further research from Mind, suggests that GPs are working just 3.5 days a week due to the stress incurred by the demands of their job.

The NHS Practitioner Health Programme (PHP), is the only confidential service that offers doctors a range of assessments, treatment and case-management for all mental health problems. In 10 years, the PHP has helped more than 5,000 doctors, of whom slightly over two-thirds were women. The average age has dropped from 51.6 years to 38.9.

But doctors can only self-refer if they work in London. Other doctors can access the service, but they must do so via their local clinical commissioning group (CCG), thereby losing their anonymity.

Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Mind said: “Working in healthcare doesn’t make it any easier to talk about your mental health at work. In fact, concerns over fitness to practice can make it harder. It needs to be OK for healthcare staff to talk about their mental health. Like anyone else, they need and should have support.”

The Government and NHS England have taken steps to address the high rates of poor mental health among GPs, for example by setting up a confidential NHS support service for GPs.

NHS England said in a statement: “We launched the NHS GP Health service in 2017, a world-first, nationally funded confidential service which specialises in supporting GPs and trainee GPs experiencing mental ill health and which has already helped more than 1,500 GPs.

“NHS Trusts and clinical commissioning groups may offer additional support for professionals in their area, for example CCGs in London have commissioned the NHS practitioner health programme for their staff.”

At Camino Healthcare, we provide 24-hour care and support in our award winning mental health rehabilitation units based in the West Midlands. The service is for both men and women (18 – 65) with severe and enduring mental illness, mild learning disabilities as well as patients with forensic histories.

If you would like to learn more about our services and what we offer, click the link below:

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