For confidential advice call 0300 0303 300

FAQ

General FAQ

Who can use the GP Health Service (GPH)?

The service is available for any registered GP or GP trainee on the NHS England performers’ list who has:

  • A mental health concern (at any level of severity)
  • An addiction problem (whether alcohol, drugs or other addictions)

Not a GP?

Telephone 020 3049 4505 or click here to email us (england.phpadmin@nhs.net) to enquire whether the Practitioner Health Programme can help you under one of their other NHS contracts. Further information is available on the website www.php.nhs.uk

Does the GP Health Service replace existing health services?

No: GPH is designed to enhance rather than replace existing health services for GP patients by providing advice on access to local health services and prompt access to confidential treatment where local services are unable to meet their needs.

Can I use a pseudonym?

Yes you can use a pseudonym for telephone advice or enquiries if you prefer. We will also arrange for a pseudonym to be used if a GPH clinician knows you. Alternatively, we can arrange treatment via one of our preferred providers. The important issue is that you feel confident in being able to approach GPH for help.

How does GPH work?

GPH has two key components:

  • A team of nationwide clinicians, providing local patient assessment and treatment.
  • A network of treatment providers, available via our bespoke bookings application, who can provide you with ongoing treatment, therapies and access to groups.

Can GPH provide ongoing support and case management?

Yes: GPH will provide case management support for GP patients who have complex issues. GPH can also arrange for the therapeutic monitoring of GP patients who have been referred on for treatment of addictions.

Where is the service provided?

The GP Health Service is available to all GPs on the performers’ list in England. Where available, you will be able to select clinicians and therapists close to your home or work location. We hope that you will be able to access a clinician or therapist with experience in treating healthcare professionals no further than 1-2 hours travel time.

How will I book follow-up appointments?

After your assessment, if it is decided that you would benefit from further treatment, you will be sent a download link to our bespoke bookings app. You will then be fully in control of your own attendance at GPH. All follow-up bookings should be made by you using this smartphone application, allowing you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year access to our bookings system. Full guidance in using the app. will be provided but you can also call our administrative team on 0300 030 33 00 for help.

The app currently runs only on iPhone and Android platforms. If you do not have a phone running one of these operating systems, call 0300 030 33 00 and we will assist you.

How do I know if I should contact the service?

If you are a GP or GP trainee in England and are in doubt about whether we can help, please get in touch and we can talk through the issues with you.

Telephone 0300 030 33 00 or email us here (gp.health@nhs.net).

Why has this service been set up?

General Practitioners are like everyone else and encounter all types of health problems. The focus of this programme is on early intervention, to support the health of GPs so that wherever possible they can continue providing safe and valued care to their patients. There is a tendency for doctors to manage their own health problems, to self-medicate, to chat informally to colleagues etc. rather than seek a proper consultation and treatment. For this reason many problems go unreported or unrecognised. This service seeks to provide a way that GPs can access support and advice that they need in a confidential and understanding environment.

This service is also a commitment of NHS England’s General Practice Forward View (https://www.england.nhs.uk/gp/gpfv/) as part of a wider package of support to general practice.

Do I need to tell my own GP that I am coming?

No: This is a confidential service. You do not need to tell anyone you are contacting us. The very fact that you are using our service suggests that you do not feel able to use existing NHS services. If you want to let your general practitioner know you have attended you may indicate this when you register with GPH and we can then write to him/her with your consent. We hope that you have a general practitioner that you can trust with your problem, but sometimes this is not possible – we will always respect that. In some circumstances not being able to communicate with your GP may limit the treatment options available for safety reasons, e.g. prescribing.

Is the service confidential?

Individual GP patients approaching GPH for advice or treatment will be assured that their case will be handled on a confidential basis. Only in exceptional circumstances will confidentiality be breached. This will be where there are serious and unresolved concerns that the GP patient may be putting themselves or their patients at risk.

Will you tell my employers I am unwell?

Within the confines of the law the service we offer is confidential. Only in exceptional circumstances would we have to breach your confidentiality and this would only ever be done as a last resort. For example, where we have a duty to inform the DVLA or if we think that your behaviour is putting children or vulnerable adults at risk. There may be exceptional cases where we think that you are putting patients at serious risk because of your behaviour. We then have a duty to let the GMC or your employer know about this. This is seldom necessary, however.

Further information on confidentiality can be found on the tab above.

 

What if I come through GMC procedures?

It may-be the case that the GMC have recommended that you approach GPH as they think you may benefit from the services we can offer you rather than being part of any restrictions or undertakings on your practise. Your contact with GPH is therefore purely voluntary on your part and the GMC will have NO further involvement and your care will be entirely confidential.

www.gmc-uk.org/concerns/doctors_under_investigation/health_assessments.asp

For some health professionals a condition of continuing practise might be that restrictions are placed on registration, known as undertakings or conditions.

www.gmc-uk.org/concerns/doctors_under_investigation/undertakings.asp

These doctors often have a substance misuse or dependency diagnosis, and in these circumstances the GMC will appoint their own medical supervisors. Medical supervisors report back to the GMC on the doctor progress under treatment and also engage with the workplace and clinicians or others involved in the GP’s care. GMC medical supervisors do not themselves provide ongoing treatment. Some GPs in this category who contact GPH may want reports on their progress from the GP Health Service to form part of the GMC medical supervision process. However if the patient does not give consent for GPH to share details of their health with the GMC then GPH will not do so (unless it appears that patient safety is compromised).

It may be the case that a complaint has been sent to the GMC and as yet the GMC has not completed their investigation or, having investigated the complaint, has decided to refer it to a Fitness-to-Practise panel. This might be the case where, for example, you have been referred to the GMC following a drink-drive offence. We can help you deal with your problem ahead of the GMC process, putting you in a much better position when the case is eventually heard. This will especially be the case where you are able to demonstrate insight into your problem and benefit from the support and help that GPH is able to provide.

If I am dependent on alcohol and approach GPH do you have to tell the GMC?

No. If there is no direct risk to patients then there is no reason for the GMC to be involved at all.

If I am dependent on illicit drugs (e.g. heroin, cocaine) do you have to tell the GMC?

We have set up an agreement with the GMC that allows us to see and treat practitioner patients without informing them of individual cases. The exceptions to this are where patient safety is at risk, where a practitioner is not complying with assessment or treatment, not heeding advice to take leave from work, or where there is a significant ongoing misconduct issue, or where, even though abstinent, there is a serious risk of relapse. Ongoing criminal activity would constitute such an issue. If such a situation were to occur, we would contact the GMC with your knowledge – we would try everything possible to avoid discussing or referring a named individual. In the majority of cases we would have no need to involve the Regulator. We will always advise you that any use of illicit drugs is a breach of your Regulatory requirements and that ongoing illegal activity needs to be reported to the Regulator.

If you are in any doubt please contact us for a confidential and anonymous discussion

What happens when I come to the assessment appointment?

When you first contact the service you will booked in for a short telephone assessment. This helps us understand your issues and identify the best way to support you. You will then be invited to book an appointment with one of our experienced health professionals who will assess your problems. This appointment will last up to 90 minutes. We will ask you to fill in some health and/or screening questionnaires and we may carry out a physical examination and/or blood tests. What happens next depends on the findings of these initial assessments and what sort of help you want. It may be the case that we can provide you with some information and advice and that you don’t need to see us again. Alternatively, we might refer you immediately to a specialist practitioner or therapist, or invite you to attend another appointment so that we can continue with a more detailed assessment.

How are records kept?

All details will be kept on a separate confidential computer record. This record will only be accessible by GPH staff and will not be “uploaded” to any shared medical record system. Only GPH clinicians involved in your care will have access to your record. The record will not form part of the NHS shared electronic record.

What if I need psychological therapy?

We can offer you a specified number of therapy sessions, dependent upon need. We have experts within the team who can provide cognitive behaviour therapy or other psychotherapies (whether group or individual). We have arrangements with a network of cognitive behaviour and other psychotherapists across England.

Will I have to pay for the service?

No, this is a free, NHS service. You will not need to pay anything.

How do I obtain help out-of-hours?

The GP Health Service is not an out-of-hours service. The administration office is open from   8am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 8am – 2pm on Saturdays. Our clinicians and therapists will choose their own working hours so you may be able to find evening or weekend slots in your locality using our bespoke bookings application (made available to you when you register with GPH).

Please visit our home page for out-of-hours information under ‘Other Sources of Help’.

What other organisations can I contact?

Our web site gives a list and contact details for a large number of organisations that can help. Some of these are telephone advice services only and others can offer you face-to-face counselling. Please visit other sources of help for more details.

How long will you see me for?

We can continue to see you at the service until you feel able to be discharged. This may be when you feel better or where you are able to talk about your problem with your general practitioner.

What service does Efficacy provide?

Information for Practitioner Patients being referred to Efficacy

Efficacy and PHP have worked together for 6 years to treat GPs requiring psychological therapies. The Efficacy and PHP partnership has now been widened to encompass all NHS GPH referrals.

Efficacy offers a range of treatment options for patients, all following NICE guidance for evidence-based treatments. This includes remote delivery of therapies as well as face to face appointments. The remote models have been designed with busy doctors in mind, understanding that they require not just consistently high quality therapy delivered by accredited senior therapists but also anonymity and schedule flexibility.  Each of these service options is discussed in person during a telephone-based assessment with a Senior Efficacy Clinician to make sure the patient makes a choice that is clinically appropriate and suits their personal needs.

The options that have been designed for the NHS GP Health service are as follows:

–  Supported Computerised CBT: Efficacy piloted and tested a selection of software-based NICE approved treatment programmes to identify that which has the best outcomes, was most true to the CBT model and offered a clinician-led option of contacts that allowed for a personalized and supported treatment. Efficacy chose SilverCloud and achieves exceptional outcomes for their patients in excess of published outcome data which is in itself very positive:

“SilverCloud, which was tested in the UK for people with depression, in addition to showing improvement on the primary depression measure, demonstrated significant improvements on the secondary anxiety measures” (Richards et al. 2015)

How it works:

  • A programme link is sent via email to the patient that includes modules that are suitable for the initial diagnosis. (Depression, Anxiety disorders – selection, Managing Stress)
  • Efficacy calls the patient to book them in with the first senior therapist telephone appointment
  • The patient works through exercises and records thoughts and feelings and behaviours
  • The patient has a weekly telephone appointment with their BABCP accredited senior clinician to discuss their work and records of the week and support their progress
  • The patient has 12 months’ access to their own confidential SilverCloud platform and can review lessons and relapse plans to support staying well for the future

 

–  Telephone-based CBT: In their work with GPs, Efficacy has recognized that there is a demand amongst some patients to be treated rapidly and with the flexibility that a remote service can provide. This permits patients to manage their treatment around shiftwork, family life and other commitments. It can also offer the anonymity that GPs require out of their local area.

How it works:

  • The patient is contacted to set up the first telephone appointment
  • The Patient has a weekly 50 minutes call on the telephone or Skype (as per their preference) with their treatment
  • The Patient continues to be treated weekly via telephone or Skype for as many sessions as are clinically indicated (based on NICE guidance).

 

 –  Face to face CBT: Efficacy has delivered face to face CBT nationwide for more than ten years and has a rigorous selection and nurturing of their CBT therapists who treat patients face to face and remotely. All clinicians are BABCP accredited, referenced and checked to deliver high standards of care.

How it works:

  • The patient is contacted to set up the first appointment based on their local Efficacy clinician’s diary availability
  • The Patient has a weekly 50 minutes appointment face to face
  • The Patient continues to be treated weekly face to face for as many sessions as are clinically indicated (based on NICE guidance).

….For more information contact Efficacy Ltd: 020 79297911 ….

Employers and Referrers FAQ

Can GPH provide a report?

Yes: GPH can provide reports, however this will be with the explicit consent and approval of the GP patient. GPH can provide reports to employers, Trusts, or to the GMC. Normally these will be short, confirmation of fact reports.

GPH does charge for reports in some circumstances. Charges are only applicable where the report request originates with a third party e.g. GMC, Solicitor or a Defence Organisation. We will not charge for reports where the cost would be incurred by the GP patient.

All report fees are reinvested in GPH for service development or the improvement of existing services for practitioner-patients. Please contact the office for details of report fees.

What can GPH offer with respect to helping a GP return to work?

When a GP is ready to return to work, GPH help support this process by liaising, as appropriate, with the relevant trust, occupational health department or deanery.

GPH does not provide occupational health reports on a GP’s fitness-to-practise. With patient consent, we do provide reports summarising health issues, treatment and prognosis.

GPH can also help signpost GPs to local coaching, mentoring or career counselling.

Is the GPH service an occupational health service?

No, GPH is not an occupational health service.

The NHS GP Health Service is a health service for GPs within England who have mental health or addiction issues that affect their ability to work.

However, the GPH team may work with employers, Occupational Health departments and others to develop and implement return to work programmes.