DocHealth: New confidential support service for doctors
Doctors battling stress-related anxiety and depression will have access to a new specialist-led support service, a joint venture from the RMBF and the BMA.
DocHealth, a self-referral service available to all doctors, aims to provide confidential, specialist-led support for those suffering with stress-related depression or anxiety.
The programme will initially run as a 24-month pilot, and aims to complement existing support services such as BMA Counselling and the Doctor Advisor Service.
Mike Peters, head of the BMA’s Doctors for Doctors unit, said: "The BMA is delighted to support this new initiative which will offer doctors a precious resource – face to face, confidential therapeutic support from a team of experts.
"It is our duty to care for the profession, ultimately so they can better look after their patients, and we believe this will be another tool to help in that respect."
Figures provided by the Health and Safety Executive over a three-year-period showed that health professionals endure the highest rates of workplace stress.
The DocHealth service will involve a six-session programme led by consultant psychotherapists and psychiatrists as well as GPs with experience in mental health.
Counselling will take into account a doctor’s work/life situation in order to take a 'holistic approach' to treatment.
RMBF chief executive Steve Crone said that he hoped the new service would not only provide support to doctors, but go some way towards breaking down the harmful stigma of doctors asking for help.
He said: "As the UK charity for doctors, the RMBF receives hundreds of enquiries every year from doctors who are struggling with financial concerns or ill health. We are also seeing increasing numbers of doctors under unprecedented pressure while at the same time NHS support services for doctors have diminished.
"This is why the RMBF is partnering with the BMA to support DocHealth - a new confidential, not for profit, independent service for all doctors dealing with stress, anxiety and other pressures all too common in the profession.
"We hope that the service will not only support more doctors in difficulty, but also help to break down the harmful stigma associated with doctors asking for help."