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Category: GP support

Mental Health Support for All

Please see attached link to the website for dedicated mental health support for all NHS Doctors and Dentists. 


Managing mental health at work

The charity Mind's research has (unsurprisingly) found that 9 in 10 of primary care staff experience workplace stress, while two in five GPs said they had experienced a mental health problem. The poll of over 1,000 NHS workers in primary care, including GPs, nurses and practice managers, also showed that work is currently the most stressful area of their lives, ahead of their finances, health, family life and relationships. That is why Mind is campaigning for improved mental health support for people working in primary care.

Working in healthcare doesn't make it any easier to find the words to talk about your mental health at work. In fact, it can make it harder. It needs to be acceptable and possible for health care staff to talk about their mental health and by getting people talking about mental health we can break down stereotypes, improve relationships, aid recovery and tackle stigma. Mind asked a group of people working in GP surgeries to talk about their own experience of mental health problems. Watch their film here.

The BMA has resources to help staff manage their mental health at work, which you can access here.  Talking about it is important. Time to Change have resources to help you get started.

Remember also that the LMC provides pastoral support, either directly or through our GP Safe House website.  There are also the services of GP Health.

Occupational Health services for GPs

We have now obtained confirmation that it is not essential for an employee's practice to be registered with Heales Medical provided that the employee is an individual on the National Performers List.  That said, registration for practices is free of charge and allows access to an on-line portal which provides extensive information on the Occupational Health services provided by Heales together with a tariff of charges.

Should a GP wish to self-refer and not have the practice informed of their personal circumstances then the direct contact is:

Abigail Turner, Contract Manager, Heales Medical,

27 Bridge Street, Hitchin SG5 2DF

T. 0844 842 1755 (ex1020)

Heales Medical would be extremely pleased to welcome all Gloucestershire practices on board, but due to data protection legislation each practice must register individually.  This process is not overly complicated:

1. An individual from the practice, ideally a senior partner or someone who is approved to authorise payments, needs to read through the information page and accept their terms and conditions; both can be accessed at:

2. At the bottom of the information page is a tab to click entitled, "Register your Practice""  All that is necessary to register is the practice's unique reference code

3. A primary user needs to be assigned; this could be the practice manager or whomever would be responsible for making any referrals to Heales.

NHS GP Health Service


For those needing to find out more about the mental health support planned for GPs and GP trainees who wish to remain in or return to clinical practice after a period of ill-health the link is here.  The Hurley Clinic Partnership is the provider of this service, which launched on 30 January 2017.  GPs and GP trainees considering accessing the NHS GP Health service are encouraged to access the new website:

Fatigue and sleep deprivation - UK

The BMA have published a briefing paper on fatigue and sleep deprivation, which explores the impact of different working patterns on doctors. It highlights the potential impact of sleep deprivation on doctors' health, well-being and performance, as well as their safety and that of their patients. The report is accompanied by some guidance on anticipating and managing fatigue associated with doctors' working patterns.  

Appearing before a coroner's court

Most GPs would far rather provide a report than be summoned to a coroner's court hearing.  Remember, though, that an inquest is held to establish the facts around the death.  The evidence you can give is being sought to help the coroner establish those facts. As such, coroners' courts should seem less daunting/intimidating.  Of course, although it is not concerned with 'blame' or 'fault' it can highlight its findings, and lawyers may well use the evidence from an inquest in any civil case that follows. If you are summoned to the court after providing a report you should:

  • Familiarise yourself with the report or statement you provided.
  • Speak to the lawyers involved about any other documents you need to read in preparation.
  • Inform the solicitors about any mistakes or omissions in your written evidence.
  • Practise your points so they are clear and concise.
  • Agree with the barrister or solicitor a place to meet on the day.
  • Do some information gathering on the opposition's counsel if possible.
  • If you are inexperienced at giving oral evidence, practise taking the oath.
  • In court, speak as slowly as possible. If you do not understand a question, you should ask the judge to ask the barrister to rephrase it.
  • You should always face the judge and also direct all your answers to him or her. In observing the judge, keep an eye on their pen and allow the judge to either finish writing before continuing or to ask you to continue.
  • You should always be ready to explain your area of expertise to the court.
  • Also, it is important that GPs in this situation contact their MDO for individually tailored advice and assistance.

The MDDUS also has a number of articles that are publicly available and the links are below:



Generally, doctors would be wise to seek advice from their medical defence organisation.  In particular, MDO advice is going to be most effective when it is given before a doctor provides a statement to the coroner. 

  • Where the doctor has been criticised about care they gave the deceased, or where the coroner is aware of such criticism (but the doctor is not) then this is a strong prompt to seek MDO advice at the earliest opportunity.  It follows from that that doctors should feel able to speak to coroners directly to seek such information and, in addition, to ascertain whether there has been criticism.
  • It can be very useful to find out if the family of the deceased are to be legally represented.  (If they are it strongly suggests that they are not happy with the circumstances of death and it can be an indication that the doctor may need legal representation too.)
  • Finally, there may be something about the nature of the death that suggests early liaison with the doctor's MDO is necessary or prudent.  This could include circumstances where there is to be a jury inquest, where the deceased had been detained in custody, where they had apparently taken their own life, where they had been under psychiatric care or where the deceased was a child or vulnerable person. 

Note that this list is not exhaustive and the important point is for the doctor to speak to their MDO where experienced medico-legal advisers can give further advice and/or assistance.

Information on the MDU's page can be found here:  

Support if you are complained about to GMC


Any doctor (you don't have to be a BMA member) can ask for support from the BMA's Doctor Support Service where a complaint has been made to the GMC   Support is available from when a complaint is made until the outcome of the case. Unrepresented doctors or doctors with health problems may find the service particularly useful. It provides:

  • Support to colleagues through a very stressful time, which not only affects their professional lives but also impacts on their personal lives.  
  • Telephone support, subject to availability, from the time a complaint is received by the GMC until the matter is concluded. 
  • Face to face support, subject to availability of supporters, on the first day of a hearing and one further day if the hearing runs for more than a day. 
  • An orientation visit on the morning of your hearing, if you would find it useful to look around the hearing room before it starts. You can arrange this with your supporter.
  • Look around the virtual hearing room on the GMC website. 
  • The supporter will be able to talk to you about how you feel about what is happening and help you to find strategies to cope with the stress of the proceedings.
  • You can ask the supporter to come with you if you are required to attend a fitness to practise hearing.

Contact via: Call now on 020 7383 6707 or email The service is not able to offer advice about your case. You should speak to your defence organisation or legal representative about that.  If you want help with understanding the GMC's fitness to practise procedures you can contact the investigation officer who is handling your case.


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