A report by the Medical Protection Society (MPS) recently shed some dark light on mental health issued suffered by medical professionals.
MPS surveyed 600 doctors in the UK and reported that an incredible 85% of doctors reported experiencing mental health issues at some point in their career. Of the 600, 32% had experienced depression and 13% suicidal thoughts.
Mental health, of course, is not as visible as broken legs and diagnoses of cancer or pneumonia. So, where do GPs and staff covered by a Practice Cover locum insurance policy stand?
Don’t stress – we do cover mental issues
The MPS report is a clear reminder that GPs are just like everyone else, and aren’t as invincible as they may like to think. Locum insurance (or absence insurance as some call it) is there to provide peace of mind if you suffer illness or accident and are unable to work. And yes, we will cover mental health issues.
To make a claim you have to be under the care of a psychiatric specialist or psychiatric nurse. This doesn't mean you have to be in hospital, but we would require evidence that you have taken steps towards professional help.
Needless to say, it's straightforward for a GP to get themselves referred to a psychiatric specialist – but knowing when you need to seek help is a more difficult, personal decision. However this is essential in order to fulfil any claim requirements.
We’re certainly no strangers to such claims, and we have more than one stress claim going through our system as we write.
A new service from the GMC
The GMC and leading health professionals recently agreed that a confidential ‘national support service’ should be established to help doctors with mental health or drug addiction problems.
The call for it came after an independent review on doctor suicides, commissioned by the GMC, which identified 28 suicide cases between 2005 and 2013 among doctors under investigation. That’s 13 times higher than the general population.
Early intervention, of course, could have prevented these statistics, which is why the service is being created. However we should add that a referral to such a service as a first step would not qualify as seeing a psychiatric specialist.
The advice we offer is clear: if you believe you have a mental health issue, then seek advice. If you do have a mental illness that leads you to see a psychiatric specialist or nurse then you will have a valid claim on your policy.
The opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author on behalf of Practice Cover Limited and they do not constitute individual advice. Practice Cover is a trading name of Practice Cover Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority