This episode includes a discussion about suicide and the issue of suicide in the medical profession.
This week on the podcast Emma speaks to Dr Helen Garr, medical director of NHS Practitioner Health, the NHS service that looks after doctors and dentists - and also other NHS staff - who are experiencing mental ill health.
In this conversation Emma and Helen talk about the impact that pressures on the NHS are having on doctors’ wellbeing and how this is affecting GPs in particular.
Helen also explains what doctors and other NHS staff can do if they are suffering from burnout, how to prevent burnout, what people can do if they are worried about a colleague and how NHS Practitioner Health supports doctors who seek help from the service.
She also outlines how she thinks the NHS could change to help ensure better mental health for doctors and other staff.
Content in this episode
There is lots of practical and useful advice in this conversation, so we’ve included some time stamps below if you want to go back and listen to bits again, or find specific things on your first listen.
2.07 Helen explains the increase in the number of GPs coming to NHS Practitioner Health and the conditions they are presenting with.
4.41 Helen discusses suicide in doctors and explains why doctors are at higher risk of suicide.
11.12 The impact of a doctor’s suicide on colleagues and what people should do if they are concerned about a colleague’s mental health.
15.16 Steps practices can take to make the working environment more supportive.
17.55 Warning signs of burnout.
21.36 What to do if you are burnt out.
24.55 What can you do to prevent burn out.
30.10 How the NHS needs to change to better support doctors and staff.
33.37 What happens when a doctor contacts NHS Practitioner Health and how the service can help.
39.11 How staff other than doctors can access NHS Practitioner Health.
Looking After You Too (NHS England’s free coaching programme for primary care staff)
Where can GPs get help and support if they are struggling to cope? (Free access article on GPonline that contains a list of all organisations that offer support to doctors experiencing mental ill health)
Wellbeing and Coping (website Helen refers to in the interview as ‘wellbeing and doing’)
GPs tell how coaching helped them manage practices during COVID-19 (article on GPonline about the Looking After You Too programme)