Doctors and nurses need ‘psychological PPE’, says Prof Clare Gerada

19th October 2020 by NASGP

Doctors and nurses need ‘psychological PPE’, says Prof Clare Gerada

“Now is the time to reduce the burden of mental illness in those who care for us,” Prof Clare Gerada wrote in The Guardian.

The chair of Doctors in Distress, previously chair of the RCGP, warned that the second wave would put new pressure on clinicians facing moral distress under Covid-19. 

“Mental health problems will be experienced by the general population, but evidence from healthcare professionals working during the 2002-04 Sars and 2014 Ebola outbreaks found they were particularly at risk, suffering higher levels of stress, insomnia, anxiety and depression,” Prof Gerada wrote. 

In her piece, she called for the reinstatement of respite or decompression rooms and improved access to on-site psychological support, as well as confidential services and groups where doctors are able to discuss the psychological impact of their work.

NASGP fully supports Dame Prof Gerada’s calls for better support at work, and confidential services for clinicians to prevent mental ill health. 

GP locums have traditionally often found it hard to consult with another GP about their mental health as, more often as not, the GP locum may be a patient at a practice where they work.

GP locums may be particularly impacted by a sense of helplessness and hopelessness if they face cancelled sessions or being ‘locked out’ of sessions because of obstacles to remote work. 

Professional isolation remains an ongoing concern for GP locums, and some sessional GPs have left or avoided partnership in order to recover from burnout or mental ill health. 

For specialised mental health support services, NASGP recommends GP locums contact Doctors in Distress, NHS Practitioner Health and BMA support for mental health worries

"I have always valued real-person interactive support which the National Association of Sessional GPs has given in spades. It is particularly helpful for the older GP locums who may not be technologically savvy and may feel 'forced into' locum work at the end of their professional career when it wasn't necessarily a planned choice. "

Dr David Grant, GP, Lincolnshire

See the full list of features within our NASGP membership plans

Membership