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GPs predict chaos over plans to ditch their IT systems

Doctors' personality traits are a bigger cause of high levels of burnout and mental illness in the medical profession than their working conditions, research has found.

The survey of stress levels concluded one GP in 10 would be diagnosed as suffering from a psychiatric illness if they consulted a mental health expert.

The results led to calls for personality testing of students or doctors early in their career.

Survey author Professor Chris McManus, professor of psychology and medical education at University College London, said the testing would not be used to bar people from jobs but to help them understand how to cope with stress. 'There is a lack of understanding about personality among doctors and managers and changing that will help people in their careers,' he added.

Dr Dean Marshall, medical secretary of Lothian LMC and a participant in a survey that found links between GP stress levels and practising in deprived areas, said personality tests were good as long as they did not stop a doctor taking on a particular specialism.

Researchers from University College London interview-ed 1,600 doctors over more than a decade.

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