Government to pilot wellbeing service to support NHS doctors

From this autumn, the government will pilot a health and wellbeing service to support doctors suffering from mental distress, illness or addictions.


The pilot, initially just in London, will offer employees confidential feedback on their health and personalised advice on healthy lifestyles.


Employers will get anonymised data on the health status of their workforce, said health secretary Alan Johnson.


“In particular, the pilot will focus on how we can get better at intervening early, so minor problems do not escalate into full-blown crises,” he said.


The move follows a report by mental health ‘tsar’ professor Louis Appleby on how the NHS can better support doctors to look after their own health.


This has recommended that doctors who are ill should be treated first and foremost as patients not colleagues, as a doctor’s expert knowledge may not extend to their own condition.


Rules on confidentiality should be strictly observed, with additional safeguards in place to ensure privacy of care such as location and timing of appointments.


Medical schools and medical royal colleges should encourage the use of mental health services for doctors in training, the report added.

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