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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-02573
Asked by: Monica Lennon, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour
Date lodged: 31 August 2021


To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to (a) prevent burnout, distress and suicide among doctors and (b) reduce the stigma associated with doctor burnout and mental health.

Current status: Answered by Kevin Stewart on 9 September 2021


Our Health Recovery Plan, published on 25 August, outlines that recovery of staff is intrinsic to our collective ambitions for renewing our NHS.

The Scottish Government is providing £8 million this financial year to support the mental health and wellbeing of the health and social care workforce. This includes targeted support to the primary care and social care workforces of £2 million.

We will continue to work with partners, including doctors and their representatives, to provide support for, and evolve, local wellbeing resources while also maintaining and improving nationally-led initiatives. The national resources available to doctors and other health and social care professionals include:

  • The National Wellbeing Hub, ), which provides a range of self-care and digital resources;
  • The National Wellbeing Helpline ((0800 111 4191), which provides a 24/7 service to those who require psychological support and can offer advice, signposting and onward referral to local services where required;
  • Coaching for Wellbeing, a free-to-access digital coaching service accessible via the National Wellbeing Hub;
  • The Workforce Specialist Service, which offers confidential mental health assessment and treatment for regulated health and social care professionals in Scotland; and
  • Additional capacity within Boards to provide psychological therapies and interventions to support staff mental health.

We will offer further support for the physical and emotional needs of the workforce - this will include additional funding for rest areas, guidance to promote effective wellbeing conversations, new opportunities for staff to reflect on the emotional aspects of their work and further resources so staff at all levels can access peer support.

This work will inform the development of a new National Wellbeing Programme to be implemented from autumn 2021. The totality of this work, coupled with our work on leadership and culture, seeks both to prevent burnout, distress and suicide among doctors, and reduce the stigma associated with doctor burnout and mental health.