The British Medical Association has called for a confidential service to help support medical professionals with mental health problems to be rolled out across the UK.

Due to high pressures of their job, medical professionals are more likely to suffer from mental health problems such as depression than other professionals, according to the BMA.

With this in mind, the body said the Practitioner Health Programme should be extended across the country.

The free service currently provides support to doctors and dentists in London with mental and physical health concerns, as well as addiction issues.

Speaking at the BMA’s conference in St David’s Hall, Cardiff, BMA’s medical students’ representative Latifa Patel revealed some thought provoking mental health statistics, she said, “40% of people in this room will be forced to retire early due to a psychiatric illness.

“Seven per cent of the people in this room will have a substance misuse problem because at one stage in their life.

“And 10% of junior doctors harbour thoughts of suicide.”

Miss Patel added many doctors were concerned that disclosing details about their mental illness would “invite disciplinary action” or being struck off through “the involvement of the General Medical Council”.