New mental health service for NHS staff in Cambridgeshire

NHS staff across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough now have access to a pioneering service providing specialist mental health care and support.

The service, which is run by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust, is available for NHS staff working at local hospitals, mental health, community and social care trusts. Since launching in September 2020, the service has received over 300 referrals.

The multi-disciplinary team provides rapid psychiatric assessment and treatments, psychological therapies, and tailored occupational health support. Staff can access the service via referral from NHS trust occupational health services, or their GP.

Research has shown that frontline health professionals can be vulnerable and less likely to access care due to fear of stigma, worries about their career and reputation, attitudes of peers and colleagues, compounded by the pressure and stress they experience working in demanding environments.

Dr Cathy Walsh, CPFT Deputy Medical Director and Project Lead, said: “We know that NHS staff have faced unprecedented demands due to the coronavirus pandemic. Services like the Staff Mental Health Service, with integrated occupational health support, have always been needed but are particularly critical at this time to provide rapid help to staff who may be experiencing severe anxiety and distress.

“Covid-19 has been unusual in terms of the scale and duration of the pandemic and the pressures staff are dealing with. By integrating research into our service, we hope to learn more about the psychological and psychiatric impacts on healthcare staff and how best to support them. Looking after the mental health of our NHS trust colleagues in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will build resilience for teams responding to crisis situations, now and in the future.”

The Staff Mental Health Service is funded by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System (ICS), a new partnership of local health and care organisations working together to coordinate and improve services to ensure they meet the needs of our local staff and patients.

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