Dr Hilary Jones backs calls to save mental and wellbeing health hubs
The renowned GP and broadcaster has thrown his weight behind the campaign to fund the NHS staff mental health and wellbeing hubs.
14 March 2023
Renowned GP and TV presenter Dr Hilary Jones MBE is supporting calls to protect the future of 40 NHS staff mental health and wellbeing hubs, which provide vital help for NHS and social care staff in England who are struggling with their mental health.
Government funding for the hubs ends on 31 March and with a decision on the future of the hubs still in limbo, the BPS and ACP-UK are warning that the government’s failure to act risks placing vulnerable NHS and social care staff in psychological danger.
Launched by NHS England in February 2021, the staff mental health and wellbeing hubs provide health and social care colleagues with free, confidential and rapid access to assessment and support from dedicated local mental health services.
The hubs provide vital early help for staff struggling with their mental health, in many cases giving them the help they need to continue their important work for patients, and remain in their jobs.
Dr Jones, said:
“The hubs have been so successful since they were commissioned during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“That was so traumatic. It had such a negative impact on all the heroic healthcare workers that did so much at that time.
“The number of staff since then using these hubs has increased significantly, and people are suffering from burnout, from stress, from low mood, anxiety and depression, and they need support.
“Resilience is low and we're all human, after all. We have the same emotions and feelings as everybody else.”
The move to potentially cease funding comes despite data seen by the BPS and ACP-UK from 11 hubs showing an average 72 per cent year on year* increase in referrals from NHS and social care staff seeking help for their own mental health.
The BPS and ACP-UK are urging the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, to commit to providing a minimum of one year’s transitional ring-fenced funding to safeguard the vital support provided by the hubs for NHS and social care staff, which is proven to be a lifeline to thousands.
Dr Hilary added:
“There's no doubt that these hubs have helped to retain staff, to improve their mood, and certainly their wellbeing has benefited.
“I think the very least we can ask for is the provision of long term funding and for one year at least, of transitional ring fenced funding, in order to preserve this essential lifeline.
“We need these resources. We deserve them as well.”
Professor Tony Lavender, workforce and training lead for the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology, said:
“We’d like to thank Dr Hilary Jones for showing his support for this important campaign.
“NHS and social care staff need to have access to the right support and demand for the help the hubs provide is only increasing. They must not be left high and dry, particularly at a time when the NHS is struggling to keep hold of its staff and attract new talent.”
Professor Mike Wang, chair of ACP-UK, said:
“Without the dedicated service provided by the hubs, and no clear provision for alternative arrangements in sight, vulnerable staff will be forced join the long waiting lists for overstretched mainstream mental health services, or perhaps even not seek help at all. This is unacceptable.
“It’s vital that the government commits to funding the hubs to make sure NHS and social care staff get the support they desperately need.