BDA: NHS Practitioner Health lives on, but needs a long term future


  Posted by: Dental Design      16th April 2024

The British Dental Association has greeted the u-turn from Government on NHS Practitioner Health coverage for hospital dentists and doctors, but stressed that answers are needed on how news of the cancellation was sprung on the profession at the eleventh hour.

On Friday 12 April the mental health and addiction support service announced that funding had been cut, with no new registrations for secondary care staff from Monday 15 April onwards.

Following outrage across medical and dental professions, services are to be extended for 12 months while a review is undertaken into the need of NHS staff groups. The BDA stress that both primary and secondary care colleagues require long term commitment from NHS England and the Department of Health.

The BDA joined efforts led by medic Dr Rachel Clarke, with thousands signing a message to NHS CEO Amanda Pritchard and Health Secretary Victoria Atkins, urging them to change tack.

NHS Practitioner Health is the largest publicly funded mental health staff treatment service on Earth, but costs just £11m a year to run – a mere 0.007% of NHS England’s budget.

BDA Chair Eddie Crouch said: “Late on Friday, and with zero working days notice, NHS England announced the end of a programme that has saved lives.

“The outrage from this profession has been palpable. We’ve got a stay of execution, but how on earth did we get here? Tiny savings would have come at a very human cost.

“Pre-COVID we fought for and won extension of support to primary care dentists. NHS England have since claimed that this coverage was never at risk. “We are seeking cast iron assurances this support has a future, in both primary and secondary care.

“We are clear that mental health matters. Any health service requires healthcare professionals who are ready, willing and able to do their jobs.”

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