NHS England is launching mental health support for dentists and doctors, the Department of Health and Social Care, has announced.
Confidential support is now available to more than 180,000 doctors and dentists if they’re struggling with their mental health.
Specifically, a dedicated phone line and crisis text service offers a 24/7 support service.
‘Our incredible NHS would be nothing without our outstanding, devoted staff,’ Health Secretary Matt Hancock said
‘Many of them face incredibly challenging, and often distressing, situations on a daily basis.
‘We owe it to staff to provide the mental and physical health support they need to deliver consistently high-quality care for patients.
‘There is a lot of work taking place across the country to improve the offer to staff.
‘Dedicated support to all doctors and dentists in the country is a key part of this.
‘I’m determined to provide those who care for us the full backing they deserve.
‘And open doors to specialist services to turn to whenever they need help.’
Two hundred experts who receive training to understand the specifics of clinical life staff the phone lines.
Appointments are consequently available with a clinician of choice after contacting the service.
NHS says feedback from a piloted service is positive, specifically:
- 88% said the service had a positive impact on their wellbeing
- 85% said it had a positive impact on their ability to work or train.
‘I am immensely pleased and proud that the work we have done over the last decade has demonstrated the value of a service like NHS Practitioner Health,’ Dr Clare Gerada, medical director of NHS Practitioner Health, said.
‘This means that any doctor or dentist in England can access free, confidential NHS mental health support.
‘No doctor or dentist need shy away from seeking help.
‘They’ll receive the same levels of confidentiality we would afford members of the public who access care.
‘And we’re removing the stigma and barriers to seeking help through mainstream NHS services.’
Mental health support for dentists
The British Dental Association (BDA) is welcoming the plans to offer mental health support for dentists.
BDA research shows almost half of dentists surveyed say stress is exceeding their ability to cope.
And as a result 17.6% of respondents admitting they had seriously thought about suicide.
‘The BDA’s research has consistently shown that many dentists experience unacceptably high levels of stress, with little or no formal help from government until now,’ BDA chair, Mick Armstrong, said.
‘Our researchers collected hard data on the worrying extent of stress and burnout in the profession.
‘Practitioners in desperate need of support either expected to suffer in silence, or struggle to access basic services.
‘This resulted in too many dentists exiting the profession early or worse.
‘We’re very pleased that the highly regarded, confidential NHS Practitioner Health Programme has now been extended to all NHS dentists across England.’