The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport launched a Workforce Specialist Service, a mental health service for health and social care staff across Scotland. This is the culmination of many years of lobbying and developing proposals by the RCPsych in Scotland, General Medical Council and other stakeholders.
Scottish Lead for Clinician Mental Health, Jude Halford, shared the following response which was quoted in Scottish Government's press release (below):
This is an extremely welcome development to ensure health and social care staff can access the mental health care and treatment they need. Improvement in staff mental health is essential. There is an unmet need amongst health and social care professionals who face barriers to attending existing services, which include stigma, fears for their careers, concerns that they will be treated by colleagues, and worries about confidentiality. Sadly, we know that not only do staff experience mental health problems, there is also a higher rate of suicide in doctors, dentists and nurses than the general population.
Scotland's health and social care staff have needed a service like this for many years, and the pandemic has caused extra demands, stress, and pressure for staff making the requirement for mental health care even greater. The need for a specialist service predated the pandemic, was compounded by it, and will persist beyond it. It is very positive to see the Workforce Specialist Service being developed to address these needs.
Published: 26 Feb 2021 10:56
Confidential mental health workforce service.
Health and social care professionals will have access to a new specialist service offering confidential mental health assessment and treatment.
The Workforce Specialist Service will be delivered by experts with experience in treating a range of issues such as stress, anxiety, depression or addiction, with a focus on the impact this may have on a person’s work.
A multidisciplinary team will support anyone who belongs to one of the regulated professions within health and social care.
It is the latest part of a package of resources available to the workforce, including the National Wellbeing Hub, the National Wellbeing Helpline and specific psychological services provided by health boards at a local level.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:
“We are doing our best to support health and social care staff to ensure that they have the resources they require to look after themselves, and that they can get the help they need at an early stage. This is especially important given the challenges of responding to the pandemic in the past year.
“We know that some health and social care professionals can find it difficult to access mental health or addictions services due to concerns about receiving a confidential service or the professional implications of seeking support.
“Our Wellbeing and Mental Health Network offers a broad package of wellbeing and mental health support that is available for all health and social services staff, their families and unpaid carers and volunteers.
“The Workforce Specialist Service is the most comprehensive of its kind in the UK and has been established to ensure that people who access the service are afforded maximum confidentiality. We have worked closely with the professions regulators to ensure appropriate agreements are in place.”
Dr Jude Halford, Lead for Clinician Mental Health at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland said:
"We welcome the development of a much-needed specialist mental health service for Scotland's health and social care staff.
"Currently, there are barriers which stop some health and social care professionals from accessing mental health services including stigma, fears for their careers, concerns they will be treated by colleagues and worries about confidentiality. They may feel unable to seek the help they need.
"Improvement in staff mental health is essential. It benefits them and keeps health and social care services running for the public.
"The pandemic has caused extra demands, stress and pressure for staff making the requirement for mental health care even greater.
"The need for a specialist service predated the pandemic, was compounded by it, and will persist beyond it. It is very positive to see the Workforce Specialist Service being developed to address these needs."
Lorraine Gray, Chief Executive, Scottish Social Services Council said:
“The Workforce Specialist Service is a great resource and I welcome the support it will give to the social service and health workforce, their families and colleagues.
“Their roles are demanding and they are working tirelessly to support our communities in the midst of the pandemic response. And, perhaps even more importantly, this support will be vital for our workforce in the longer term as we move from the crisis response towards normality.”
If you are a regulated practitioner working in Scotland, find out more about what the service provides and how to refer yourself by visiting:
The Workforce Specialist Service (WSS) - PRoMIS | National Wellbeing Hub for those working in Health and Social Care or you can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 0303 300.
The National Wellbeing Hub – www.promis.scot – contains a broad range of advice and evidence-based resources including digital apps to help staff and unpaid carers cope with issues such as stress, anxiety, sleep problems, and to enhance personal resilience. It also signposts to a range of other national and local services.
The National Wellbeing Helpline – 0800 111 4191 – provides a 24/7 service to those who require psychological support and can offer advice, signposting and onward referral to local services where required.