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GP 'resilience' coaches to persuade burnt out colleagues to stay on

Exclusive NHS England is planning to train 160 GPs to coach colleagues in resilience to cope with stress and burnout and managing workload.

The courses being run by Health Education England (HEE) and the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) will teach GPs to train colleagues to improve work/life balance, recognise signs of stress and burnout, better manage conflicts and find solutions to problems.

NHS England would not reveal the size of the funding for the programme, which it said is commercially sensitive, but said it forms part of the £10m, 10-point plan to improve GP recruitment and retention.

FMLM, an organisation set up jointly by the medical royal colleges in 2011 to ’improve medical leadership’, said the coaching was aimed at GPs thinking of returning to or leaving practice, by helping them to:

  • Improve work/life balance and feel more in control at work;
  • Increase ability to identify solutions to work related issues;
  • Build greater confidence in managing conflict and having difficult conversations in the workplace;
  • Build greater self-awareness of the symptoms of stress and burnout.

The invitation from FMLM says: 'FMLM has been funded by NHS England to offer up to four free coaching sessions to GPs in England who are either thinking of giving up practice or have recently returned to general practice after a break.

'Our expert coaches are experienced in coaching doctors and understand the issues GPs currently face. They are available to support GPs who feel they have reached  a crossroads – or the end of the road – in general practice.’

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘As part of our commitment to help GPs, NHS England has commissioned a number of coaching programmes offering GPs the chance to train as coaches and support one another in managing stress and workload. Evidence shows this approach is an effective way of helping GPs remain in practice.

'So far we have commissioned 160 places on coaching courses which will enable GPs to train as coaches and offer coaching support to colleagues across the system. FMLM is one of the organisations delivering the coaching training programme with the others being delivered by Health Education England.’

Family Doctor Assciation chair Dr Peter Swinyard said the FDA had floated this idea to NHS England a few months ago to retain older GPs to ’do a job which was not coping with the persisting stress of front-line practice but retaining their wisdom and channelling it to help struggling GPs and practices. So [we are] very positive about it and hope that is does not get mired in a sea of bureaucracy.’

Although the deadline for applying to the next course expires this week, NHS England said this was only for the April cohort and any GP wanting information on the continuing scheme can contact the NHS Leadership Academy via info@nwacademy.nhs.uk.

The GMC last year proposed to introduce ‘emotional resilience’ into medical training, following comments from its chair Professor Terence Stephenson that doctors should have emotional resilience similar to soldiers in Afghanistan.  

Battling burnout 

The 10-point plan to improve GP recruitment and retention, announced last January, included plans for ’reviewing how to incentivise experienced GPs to remain in practice’. 

The plans also include a new national occupational health support service, which NHS England has said will be rolled out regionally from April to help GPs with burnout and stress.

Pulse’s Battling Burnout campaign has demanded that NHS England provides comprehensive support to GPs struggling with stress and burnout since conducting the largest-ever survey of GP burnout in the UK in 2013, showing almost half of GPs (46%) were at risk.

The most recent Pulse Battling Burnout survey, carried out last year, showed that the number of GPs at high risk of burnout had reached 50%.

Readers' comments (75)

  • FFS!

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  • Classic!

    So is this a scheme to help 160 people affected by burnout by training them to do work that isn't direct clinic work!

    I am pretty sure if I saw a 'coach' it would go like this:

    Coach: 'What do YOU think is the answer to:'

    1. Improve work/life balance and feel more in control at work

    Me: work less

    2. Increase ability to identify solutions to work related issues

    Me: stop trying to solve patient's problems myself and make greater use of outpatients, walk in centre and a/e - after all they would appreciate the extra funding.


    3. Build greater confidence in managing conflict and having difficult conversations in the workplace

    Me: If there is conflict try to refer the patient to hospital. Stop asking your staff to work harder, ensure the work goes to hospitals or A/E

    4. Build greater self-awareness of the symptoms of stress and burnout.

    Me: oh I'm stressed and burnt out - Retire, Locum or Emigrate ASAP!

    Coach: 'next'

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  • WHAT ALOT OF SHIT.
    IS THIS SOME KIND OF MEDICAL "BLACKADDER" STORYLINE.
    AT FIRST I THOUGHT NHS ENGLAND WERE CUNNING BUT NOW THEY HAVE REVEALED THEMSELVES AS DERANGED

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  • It's a classic diversionary tactic which puts the blame for the problem onto GPs being unable to cope instead of the NHS accepting any responsibility for making the job unsustainable. In addition, it allows NHSE to claim it is working to alleviate the GP crisis.

    Any GP who takes part in being trained as a resilience coach is therefore betraying the whole profession by taking part in NHSE's diversion of the blame onto GPs. Sadly, I expect there will be plenty cardies who can't wait to take part and who can't see the big picture - Lenin called them "useful idiots" and there is no shortage of them in GP land.

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  • Like appraisal and revalidation this is more bulshit GP's are signing themselves into.

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  • Why do doctors, who managed to achieve during the tumultuous changes of adolescence, stick the long course through university and retain their independence of thought and responsibility in the unsupported junior doctor roles, all the while funding and passing exams and bureaucratic assessments, suddenly need resilience training as a GP?
    99% of the population would have left during the first term of medical school, let alone the first month of each 6 month hospital rotation for 5-10 years after graduation.
    Could it be the job is underfunded leading to intense working for those who remain?
    NHSE needs a bit of Matthew 7:5 I think.

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  • TTFO

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  • This is like blaming a rape victim for their ordeal. Truely astounding.

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  • I really do not think that a portfolio part time GP would have halted my departure from UK but lovely work if you can do it....

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  • Some bright pen pusher's solution to workload problems.
    Generate more paper work to keep their own jobs and take more clinicians away from seeing patients so the existing ones get burnout and need more pen pushing "support".

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  • medicine tastes awful

    This is Mr Hunt's approved scheme - Mr Hunt are you holding me to ransom -

    "you cannot leave the profession unless you are coached"

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  • Something badly wrong when GMC believe emotional resilience is answer to the medical profession facing conditions like soldiers in Afghanistan.

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  • I was a Full Time, Principal in General Practice since 1986. It is only for the past two years that I felt that work was getting difficult. The problem was never the patients. The problem was the endless meetings with the Managers, the preparation for CQC, the report writing, the constant haranguing by the Health Authority for all kinds of reports, the Big Brother Watching. I did a Foundation Level Course on Coaching, courses on Mindfulness Meditation, meditated daily, yet the endless nonsensical unproductive management issues got to me. I have retired ( I have turned 60). I do some locum work and still meditate daily. I feel fantastic. No longer am I responsible if others do not do their bit. I feel more in control.

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  • Is this a joke? How come NHS England can find funding for this sort of tripe, when what we really need is proper fair funding into general practice to provide our services - they seem happy to waste millions of pounds on schemes like this that are of no proven benefit. Makes me furious just seeing how this government is destroying our NHS, and wasting billions in the process. Definitely time to emigrate....

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  • The old two-finger salute to that one!!

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  • check out the organisations which will be running these schemes and the connections of those enrolled to teach in them.what is the training/code of ethics etc.....issues of confidentiality. why is it G~Ps in general are only now being told they exist ...P Swinyard and others knew months ago.?

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  • N'kay?

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  • This is all so the GMC can tick their box showing they are offerring support to stressed out doctors. Nobody really believes that these feeble workshops will make any concrete improvement in the problems being faced by burnt out doctors !

    The problems are much deeper and cannot be dealt with by a bunch of effete motivational speakers spouting platitudes .

    Get rid of the garbage that is revalidation for instance . How are you supposed to have a work life balance having to deal with onerous nonsense like this . Also stress induced by CQC , draconian GMC etc.

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  • Hahaha. Bet it will just be a bunch of tree hugging workshops . Have a giggle for a day and then go back to the same old shit.

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  • All the comnments above are insightful and true. GPs can see the real intention of our "leaders" and its only a matter of time before they are brought down in a cloud of shame.

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  • Burnt out, 6 months off, lots of support in short term back to scub me up and send me back to same "shit"

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  • Let all this coaching be given to our friends like Ivan/ all cardigan wearing GP/ our LMC/RCGP leaders and rest of us do what we need to do i.e. Leave NHS. let them save NHS if they can. Can somebody actually make count of GP/ consultant/ Junior doctors in this country who would like to leave NHS. Let this survey including every medical doctor in this country and not just few hundred (Nigel- pulse editor I hope your reading this). We will get true idea of how many doctors are truly fed of this nonsense.

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  • Took Early Retirement

    Utterly risible!

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  • This a load of-a-p.We don't need resilience training - we need to all stop work -and see who else could/would do our job as well as we do it -Mr Hunt et al are dealing with some of the hardest working,most resilient professionals in the country, who have passed challenging degrees ,post grad degrees while working ridiculous hours under extreme pressure ( life and death decisions on a regular basis) ,often with little sleep and often with little time for proper meals or breaks .We have had enough ,you have systematically destroyed the NHS, you are not going to destroy the people who have committed their lives to it. You have managed to anger and unite a very bright profession.The members of a profession which for years has looked after other people incredibly successfully will not stand by and watch itself be destroyed .

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  • This is quite simply disgusting: nothing more than an attempt to blame the victim for the effects of others' actions.

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  • Una Coales. Retired NHS GP.

    GPs need more resilience to cope with more workload and human rights abuses? Isn't that like suggesting victims of domestic violence need more resilience coaching to put up with their abusive partners? What do we suggest to victims of domestic violence? Plan your escape! And for GPs that would be emigrate, retire early, locum or change careers but for goodness sakes do not stay in the same abusive situation as it may only get worse!

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  • i got the children to school this morning before my six hours shift and I walked my dogs on the beach. It was so sunny and calm I meditated, swum, then had morning tea with an old friend and her triplets. a gp from the UK bicycled past with his kiddie to the school, smiling. When I did my shift I finished only 10ms late, talking to a family, so pleasant then drinks for a nurse with colleagues and spouses. i an a nz gp. Come on over, my dears.

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  • Fix the job - don't waste money trying to make us feel better about it!

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  • HA HA HA - how sad.
    I agree with a previous comment that this is like blaming a rape victim for their ordeal.
    You should not have to do a course in resilence to withstand abuse from an employer.
    When surveys show such a high percentage of a workforce are suffering from burnout ( and I believe the real figure is much higher ) then the problem is not the resilence of the workforce .

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  • Is it April 1st today?

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  • Vinci Ho

    While I can see where this is coming from with someone tried to be more like human again, the trust on NHSE and HEE is not existing . Quite frankly , you cannot expect the victims to believe in something set up by the 'offenders'.....

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  • I am quite concerned. Are they expecting some casualties? Is this why they are announcing this? What are they about to announce?

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  • Hah- only NHS England could consider that a cohort of highly resilient high functioning individuals when overwhelmed by unreasonable demand- stressed and unwell ... Have brought it upon themselves???? They don't need to be more resilient- the work load needs addressing and NHEnglands incompetence and ill conceived ideas and strategies- when will they be made more accountable for the ness???

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  • Complete and utter nonsense! Non structural solution.
    Run media campaign emphazising self care to members of public please.

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  • More money would persuade me.
    Almost anything is tolerable if the rewards are commensurate.

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  • I’ve halved my number of weekly sessions and do them at half the pace I used to. Now feeling much happier and healthier. The trouble is, I’ve now got to manage on half the income!

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  • This really is an insult,isn't it.We've all got it wrong.We just have not managed our work/life balance.One wonders whether there is an air of desperation in NhsEngland as they belatedly realise that years of incompetence,bullying and micromanagement are going to result in no GP's to have cozy chats with

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  • Now doctors this is how you polish a turd and get it all shiny and nice...........

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  • My resilience has gone since Mr Hunt ( along with all the other shite) started kicking me in the crown jewels.

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  • In all fairness. I am now smiling.

    They made me smile.

    Usually NHS England makes me cry, sigh or harm a brick wall.

    But now they're obviously trying hard to make me smile. And I am genuinely smiling.

    This, ironically, must have boosted my morale in some way.

    I just can't decide whether they're going for kafkaesque or the worst of soviet statist centralised planning.

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  • So Im to become more reslient similar to a soldier deployed on Op Herrick (Afghanistan). Ive looked afger soldiers who had wounds, PTSD, depression after deployment and it wasnt pretty.

    However, one thing soldiers faced was an operational deployment of at most 6 months in a two year cycle. The other 18 months were training and less arduous duties to give them time to recover and develop better resilience. The British Army has for years rotated units out fo confflct zones.

    We are more like how the US Army used to treat their combat units in WW2 - sent into action continuously without rotation out of the front line.

    Our duties are like being deployed to Afghanistan day in, day out, without significant respite (even soliders on their 6 month tour of duty come home at least once for leave).

    Our battle is a simple one of attrition, like being in the trenches, but continuously without respite.

    It is no wonder our death, burnout and psychiatric illness rates are so high.

    Deal with the cause of the problem, not a sticking plaster to make us take the battering better.

    I utterly hate the GMC, CQC, and all those people who have engineered to destroy this profession and make it an absolute misery to work in.

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  • Is this proof and evidence for human rights abuse on doctors by their employers?
    If not what other job would this be needed?

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  • Just occasionally I completely despair over my GP colleagues. I have to say the biggest load of rubbish I have read this year in most of these posts. Only Peter Swinyard talks with any common sense.
    I am a GP(and sadly due to the abuse I will get on this site I will not add my name to this post) and have been off sick recently for several months with burnout.
    I have had CBT which despite my prejudiced initial thoughts is excellent & I have also kindly been funded locally for professional coaching. To anyone who thinks this will not help them when either on the verge of or actually suffering burn out they are wrong. I just wished I had accessed years ago. The are all things we can change in the way we work but it isn't as easy as you think to recognise them.
    Just occasionally people should actually read something properly(perhaps even read up what it is before commenting) and realise this is a step in the correct direction if only a small step in correcting a list of wrongs.

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  • Any lawyers out there? Does this constitute admission of guilt for abusive working conditions? Can they be sued for stress disorders or for any other kind of stress related health problem?

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  • In next weeks news. NHS England invites GP's to hold hands and stroke puppies.....

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  • To GP Partner at 5.20 . - I appreciate you coming out and saying you had burn out and needed help. But what led to this burnout??? I am sure its not seeing patients caused that. Its load of rubbish which comes besides seeing patients for eg. managing their unreasonable expectations, fulfilling whims and fancies of CCG and idiotic Hunt). Most of us are pouring out their frustrations as they cannot do anything. Some of us are eloquent and others are not. Everybody is putting their point forward. But I do not agree that "only Peter Swinyard talks sense and rest of us are buffoons". At least some of us have courage to put their name in front of their comments instead of hiding behind curtain of Anonymity.

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  • WHAT A LOAD OF OLD S***

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  • Just when I thought I had, genuinely, seen it all... as Malcolm Tucker once said... 'We are through the looking glass now people...'

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  • Burnout, depression, your children never seeing you, your partner leaving you for someone else, poverty, insanity, early mortality


    All of the above are what you have to look forward to if you decide to embark of a career in uk general practice!!!


    Its never been a better time to

    DITCH THE COUNTRY COMRADES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Dr Bahalkar if you wish to quote another comment at least make sure you quote it correctly! I can't see anywhere in my post I called anyone a "buffoon". I see to highlight the none stated comment you even chose to put it in quotation marks.
    Perhaps it is a good job for you I did post anonymously.

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