LMCs hit out at occupational health cuts amid rising GP stress

GP leaders have hit out at removal of central funding of occupational health services for GPs and warned LMCs have seen up to 400% rises in doctors reporting stress.

Dr John Canning: occupational health must be funded
Dr John Canning: occupational health must be funded

LMCs unanimously backed a motion expressing their dismay at the 'increasing number of GPs suffering from work-related stress'.

Dr Francesco Scaglioni from Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LMC warned that GPs presenting with suicidal ideation could be denied vital support at a time of crisis.

He pointed out that the cost of occupational health services was low and that 80% of doctors who received support were able to return to work.

LMCs passed a motion condemning the 'recent withdrawal by NHS England of the funding for occupational health services for GPs' and urging the GPC to negotiate its reinstatement.

Cleveland LMC's Dr John Canning said the LMC had received a letter on 24 April warning that an occupational health service covering the north of England had had its funding stopped from the end of March. GPs have been told responsibility for funding occupational health is now part of their responsibility as employers.

'I am certain there will be people receiving treatment at the moment and they have suddenly had the service stopped,' Dr Canning said.

GPC negotiator Dr Dean Marshall called the changes 'shameful'.

Somerset LMC's Dr Steve Edgar said the removal of occupational health funding put patients at risk. 'I believe it is important for the safety of patients and GPs that this is provided by NHS England.'

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