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NHS England U-turns on plans to cut practitioner mental health service

NHS England U-turns on plans to cut practitioner mental health service

NHS England has U-turned on plans to cut funding for a mental health support service following strong criticism from the profession, and will allow new registrations from hospital staff for another year.

On Friday, Practitioner Health said NHS England was ‘undertaking a review’ for the support offer across all NHS staff groups, to consider ‘long term sustainable options’.

This meant that the service would not accept any new registrations from secondary care staff from this week, but would continue to treat existing patients.

The decision was strongly criticised by doctors, including the Royal College of Nursing and British Medical Association, who said it was ‘tone deaf’ and ‘short-sighted’.

Now, NHS England has agreed to ‘extend the service’ for secondary care health professionals by 12 months while a review is carried out.

It confirmed that the service will remain in place for primary care staff for another 12 months until the end of March next year.

NHSE chief workforce officer Dr Navina Evans said: ‘Following discussions with Practitioner Health on their current service for secondary care doctors, dentists and senior staff, we have jointly agreed to extend the service by 12 months, for both existing and new service users, while we carry out a wider review to ensure that all NHS staff groups have the mental health support they need.’

Professor Dame Clare Gerada, an ambassador for NHS Practitioner Health who is also a GP, said she was ‘delighted’ that the extension was agreed and that the service will ‘work closely’ with NHS England on the review.

The service provides treatment to healthcare professionals who are mentally unwell, supporting them to remain in or return safely to work.

A version of this article was first published by our sister title Pulse

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