The Health Secretary has put forward plans that will see NHS staff’s access to mental health support services being fast-tracked. 

As part of the proposals by the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock MP, doctors, nurses and other frontline NHS staff should be allowed to jump long queues to access mental health treatment ahead of the general public. 

According to reports, Mr Hancock has pledged “immediate access” to mental health support for NHS staff and this week will set out his priorities from a new report. This includes “fast-tracked mental health referrals for NHS employees” if they’re identified as a priority by a GP or an occupational health clinician. 

He said: “…the mental and physical wellbeing of NHS staff was an utmost priority”.

The Health Secretary’s announcement follows reports late last year that found that NHS staff is facing a mental health crisis so much so that up to 2,000 NHS staff leave the national health service each month. 

The NHS fast-tracking proposals come from a report by the Health Education England NHS Staff and Learners’ Mental Wellbeing Commission, set up by former Health Secretary. 

The report concluded that “Failure to properly prioritise [NHS staff] mental wellbeing can have dire consequences that affect service users and employees, said Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, welcoming the recommendations.” 

Officials from the Department of Health and Social Care could reportedly not confirm when or if the proposals would be implemented.

Stephen McCaffrey

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