20 February 2008
Doctors and dentists will get a new service to help them deal with physical or mental health or addiction concerns.
The National Clinical Assessment Service (NCAS) is developing the programme with key partners, to be launched in London this autumn.
Professor Alastair Scotland, Director of NCAS, said: “We welcome the Secretary of State’s speech today and the focus it brings to an issue we see as overdue business. This is a great opportunity for the NHS to play catch-up and provide its employees with the same level of care it currently provides to the public and patients it serves.
“A practitioner’s poor health can impact greatly on patient safety. This programme will protect that safety by supporting the health of practitioners.
“The tendency for doctors and dentists is often to manage their own health problemsthemselves, to self-medicate, to chat informally to a colleague, rather than to seek a proper consultation and treatment.
“We need to change that culture so that practitioners, like everyone else, feel able to access highly professional and confidential care.”
The new service will provide advice on accessing local services and will provide prompt, confidential treatment where local services are unable to meet practitioners’ needs.
Initially the service will be available to all doctors and dentists in London.
NCAS, a division of the National Patient Safety Agency, will oversee the development of this health programme. NCAS has a long experience in providing advice to organisations handling concerns about doctors and dentists and one third of all NCAS cases involve a health component.
Notes to editors:
- For further information please contact NCAS: Melanie Fineberg, 0777 599 8328 or 0779 509 4328, Melanie.Fineberg@npsa.nhs.uk
- A prototype health programme will be launched in autumn this year and will cover all doctors and dentists living or working in the London Strategic Health Authority area.
- The commissioning process for this prototype programme is being managed by the London Procurement Programme.
- NHS and independent health care providers have been invited to set up and run the prototype service.
- NCAS has dealt with around 5,000 cases where the performance of a doctor or dentist has given cause for concern.