• NHS Practitioner Health has been expanded nationwide, health secretary Matt Hancock announces
  • Doctors able to use confidential, 24/7 self-referral service to access mental health support

More than 180,000 NHS doctors and dentists across England will now have access to a confidential and 24/7 self-referral service dedicated to mental health support.

The NHS England-funded NHS Practitioner Health programme — which is being rolled out nationwide and is already operating in London — will give staff access to a clinician, who can prescribe medication, offer staff support while away from work, and provide access to individual and group therapies.

Staff will be able to contact the NHS Practitioner Health programme, either by phone or email, to be provided with a link to the app to book appointments with their preferred clinician.

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: “There is a lot of work taking place across the country to improve the offer to staff, and 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.”

NHS Practitioner Health’s general director Clare Gerada said she is “immensely pleased and proud” of the work done over the past decade to demonstrate its value.

She added: “This means any doctor or dentist in England can access free, confidential NHS mental health support and treatment and get the help they need.”

The government said the service is staffed with 200 experts “whose training is tailored to understand the specific circumstances of clinical life”, and its rollout means the NHS has the most “comprehensive” national mental health support offer to doctors in the world.

HSJ Transforming Mental Health Summit

The HSJ Transforming Mental Health Summit, taking place at the Hilton Leeds from 28-29 November 2019, unites 120+ senior figures from across the NHS, local authority and wider mental health service delivery landscape to discuss how to realise the visions of the NHS long-term plan and ensure successful local implementation of national priorities.

Held under the Chatham House Rule, attendees will quiz Paul Farmer and other national figures on general policy direction and co-develop solutions to their local challenges with NHS and local government colleagues from across the country. The summit is free to attend for senior NHS and public sector figures.

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