The UK Health and Social Care Secretary has announced new plans for better mental health and wellbeing for NHS midwives and other staff.
The plans, which have been based on recommendations by Health Education England (HEE), include a dedicated mental health support service 24/7 that offers confidential advice to staff.
The HEE recommendations, outlined in its report on the mental health and wellbeing of NHS staff and learners will be considered as part of the ‘workforce implementation plan’.
Other plans include fast-tracked mental health referrals for staff if recommended by their GP or health clinician.
An ‘NHS wellbeing guardian’ will also be available at every NHS organisation who will be responsible for championing mental health and wellbeing.
Commenting on the plans, Head of Health and Social Policy at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), Sean O’Sullivan, said: “The RCM welcomes this announcement from the Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.
“We know when staff are overworked, under intense pressure due to staffing shortages and other factors they struggle to provide the best care and their physical and mental health suffers. This has a negative impact on their ability to work to the highest levels and standards of care and safety can decline.”
The aim of the plans is to help NHS organisations improve on sickness absence rates, staff performance and retention.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “I’m so proud of the service NHS staff give, so the mental and physical wellbeing of the people who work in our health service must be our utmost priority.
“NHS staff have been there for me, and they have been there for my family – so I’m determined to make sure we are there for them too.”
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