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The waiting game

GPs offered mindfulness for free to relieve winter pressures

GPs can access an app to practice mindfulness this winter, as part of a BMA campaign focused on doctors' mental wellbeing.

According to the BMA, it is 'not always easy' for doctors to take any time out to focus on themselves while working under winter pressures.

The BMA is therefore offering all members two months' free access to mindfulness app Headspace.

The BMA said: 'Looking after your mental health and taking your breaks is essential while working under winter pressures or when you're facing exams.

'It's important to give yourself the gift of five minutes and try to spend a small amount of time each day focusing on yourself.'

The BMA highlighted that mindfulness 'can be an effective support for those experiencing routine stress, and has also been shown to help with more serious concerns like anxiety, depression and insomnia'.

'Listening to their bite-sized guided meditation sessions can help you cope with working under winter pressures and exam stress,' it added.

The news comes as the Government yesterday announced £335m in additional funding to relieve NHS winter pressures, however it specified this would go to NHS trusts rather than GP practices.

A recent Pulse survey of over 800 GPs revealed that almost half of GPs say their ability to care for patients has been affected by the stress of general practice.

Around one in nine GPs has turned to alcohol because of work pressures, with 6% turning to prescription drugs.

The survey also found that one in 10 GPs has taken time off work in the past 12 months because of stress or burnout, while a further 22% fear it is likely they will do so within the next year.

Meanwhile, the GP Health confidential counselling service, launched in January this year, has been inundated with GPs suffering with mental health concerns, including stress or depression, or addiction issues.

Readers' comments (26)

    This is the ultimate opt out strategy, cut our budget, limit our training places, close loads of practices, prioritise secondary care budgets, hammer GPs will all the peripheral nonsense abounding these days and it will be made all right after two months free mindfulness training provided as part of our expensive BMA subscriptions,
    It is our fault that general practice is failing and we just have to get that into our heads, we have nobody else to blame but ourselves, I don't understand why it has taken so long for me to understand this basic truism,
    In Northern Ireland I think the last calculation was about 5.5% of total health care spend went to primary care, we should all be ashamed that this money hasn't been allocated to where it is needed in those big shimmy PFI buildings full of real doctors saving lives.....

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  • The idea is commendable..but headspace is a bit mindfulness for kids..Probably the money would be better spent ensuring we could all have 30 minutes off each day to meditate

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  • The £1000 or so saved in RCGP and BMA subscriptions pays for a shed load of beer and wine that helps much more than colouring books and mindfulness apps.


    NB: to passing spy from GMC - not an alcoholic ;-)

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  • AlanAlmond

    BMA offers free mindfulness app. A bunch of GPs commenting on PULSE find reasons to get upset. Really folks? Come on.

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  • Reduction in income over last 5 years about 50%, increase in workload also about 50%, reduction in pension growth GOK as all agencies in disarray, colleagues jumping ship left right and centre... With mindfulness, however, we can all find inner peace. Gosh, thank-you BMA!

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  • Dear Salaried GP- the 'bunch of GPs' - just see this for what it is... a no cost option which won't help their day to day lives in any meaningful fashion. It shows that the BMA is actually failing to deliver and hoping to distract who are a highly intelligent professional group, with Gimmicks. The doctors here are allowed to express themselves for what they perceive to be a waste of time. Big and small is pointing out that the money saved by cancelling your subscriptions is a more useful option ( I concur) Paid for BMA one year only as far as I can remember - it was 20 yrs ago. Haven't wasted my money on their subscriptions. They were hopeless in negotiations with hospital trusts, I always found a letter from proper solicitor straight away soon sorted issues. I think the comments here a more representative of the views I hear from my colleagues. I left the Uk because I didnt have faith in the BMA/ RCGP to improve our lot ,turns out I was right, and guess what, I dont see anything improving in the next 10-20 yrs- roughly the rest of my career, so Im not coming back anytime soon. If you would care to study psychology you would see that the 'grumpy ones' are actually less likely to get burn out, they express their discontent, but by and large are realists and have better analytical skills. The mindfulness app is basically an insult, though I am sure it wasn't meant that way. ,likely some well meaning poppy optimist on a career portfolio, and rather disconnected from the reality of full time practice in under resourced regions.

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  • If the BMA can't get its corporate brain around the fact that the problem is not in GPs' heads, and we have already taken resilience beyond the point at which it becomes self-destructive, we're need a new trade union.

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  • AlanAlmond

    Macdonalds medicine | Locum GP23 Nov 2017 10:27pm
    Thanks but please lighten up a little. As far as I’m aware you don’t practice in the UK but somewhere in Australasia? Let it go and chill. I’m actually in the UK fella. It is still crap over here, I know that because I’m still in the thick of it..but this is a mindfulness app. Do yourself a favour and don’t down load it isn’t compulsory and probably didn’t cost the BMA anything anyway.
    As for the rest of you moaning do your selves no favours complaining about a small trivial thing such as this. Pick your battles wisely or don’t be supprised if people loose interest in your argument and see you as amusing but irrelevant...maybe that’s what the NHS has turned you into bit I disagree. The arguments in comments are often insightful and excellent. This isn’t the best of if

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  • Asterix boy, don't go native, this app completely trivialises the threats to UK general practice. Underinvestment, overwork and burgeoning demand will not be dealt with by the trite offer of an app. This body is paid for by us and charged with negotiating our terms and conditions, I am enraged by this sop, but I will be drawing my pension soon, I wish you all well...,.,

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