Dental Tribune UK & Ireland

NHS England takes steps to promote mental health in dentistry

By Dental Tribune International
October 28, 2019

LONDON, UK: Workplace stress can lead to mounting anxiety or even depression. As is the case with other healthcare providers, dentists and doctors are often faced with burdensome situations that could affect professional and personal performance. To tackle the issue, the Department of Health and Social Care has recently announced the launch of a mental health support service for dentists and doctors working in the National Health Service (NHS). The service will help staff manage stressful situations and address other issues that could negatively affect their emotional and mental well-being.

According to the department, there are currently over 180,000 doctors and dentists registered with the NHS. From now on, staff can access mental health support round the clock through a dedicated phone line or by using a crisis text service. The service boasts 200 experts who have received training to enable them to better understand the specific circumstances of clinical life.

When using the service, the patients will receive a link to an app through which they can book appointments with a clinician of their choice. After an initial assessment, patients will have the opportunity to book further appointments, during which the clinician may prescribe medication, offer support outside of work hours and follow up as appropriate. Those using the service will also have access to various types of individual and group therapy.

According to the department, a pilot service has been praised by those who accessed it. A staggering majority of the participants, 88%, said that the service had had positive effects on their well-being, and 85% reported that it had positively impacted their ability to work or train.

“Our incredible NHS would be nothing without our outstanding, devoted staff. Many of them face incredibly challenging, and often distressing situations on a daily basis and we owe it to staff to provide the mental and physical health support they need to deliver consistently high-quality care for patients,” noted Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

“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. This means that any doctor or dentist in England can access free, confidential NHS mental health support and treatment and get the help they need,” said Dr Clare Gerada, Medical Director of the NHS Practitioner Health Programme.

Gerada believes that, just like members of the public, dentists and doctors have the right to seek confidential mental health support, and this is now facilitated through the NHS.

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