The UK Practitioner Health Programme: 8-year outcomes in Doctors with addiction disorders
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Introduction: Doctors are vulnerable to addiction disorders and are at risk of poor outcomes due to delayed presentation and lack of appropriate services. The UK NHS Practitioner Health Programme (PHP) was commissioned in 2008 to address barriers facing addicted doctors. We analysed the substance misuse characteristics and outcomes of doctors under the care of PHP. Methods: A longitudinal analysis of Doctors with addiction disorders under PHP over an 8-year period (November 2008 to November 2016) was completed. Results: Of 255 eligible participants, most were male (72.9%) and had primarily alcohol dependence (71.8%). The mean age at presentation was 42.31±10.00 years and mean duration of treatment was 2.66±2.15 years. General practitioners (28.2%), Doctors in emergency specialities (24.7%), and psychiatrists (14.9%) made up the majority of the cohort. A total of 77.6% of Doctors were abstinent at the end of treatment (or time of data collection), and over twothirds (68.2%) of the cohort had completed treatment and were discharged. Comparing work-related variables at presentation versus the end of treatment (or time of data collection), Doctors were more likely to be in active employment (43.0 vs 85.3%, p=0.0002, N=251), less likely to be unemployed (13.6 vs 4.8%, p<0.0001, N=251), on sick leave (25.9 vs 2.4%, p<0.0001) or suspended by their regulator (11.6 vs 3.6%, p<0.0001) at the end of treatment. Conclusions: Over an 8-year period, The UK NHS PHP has demonstrated successful treatment of Doctors affected by addiction, with a high proportion of abstinence (77.6%) and nearly 2-fold increase in the proportion in active employment.
KEY WORDS: Practitioner health service, addictions, doctors, alcohol, substance misuse.