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GPs go forth

90% of doctors report relationship pressures due to long working hours

Nine out of 10 doctors across the UK believe their working hours put their personal relationships under pressure, a major new study by the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund has found.

The survey, which polled 1,351 GPs, consultants, hospital doctors and charity supporters, found that an ‘alarming’ number of doctors experienced mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, as a result of working under increasing pressure and scrutiny.

Over 80% of doctors know of colleagues experiencing metal health issues, with nearly three-quarters saying they knew of other doctors experiencing marital and family problems.

Patient loads, working hours and the pressure of increased scrutiny in the shape of CQC inspections and revalidation are key factors contributing to metal health issues among doctors, the survey found.

The RMBF said: ‘Worryingly, of those doctors surveyed, 66% felt that the NHS provided a poor level of support to doctors and their families.’

It added that doctors are unlikely to reach out for support or advice for fear of discrimination or stigma, or are inhibited by their ‘high achieving’ personality traits.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said the GPC had repeatedly raised concerns about the impact of the workload crisis on GPs, noting that rising rates of stress and burnout not only affected GPs themselves but very often their families and friends.

Dr Vautrey said: ‘A comprehensive occupational health service for GPs is long overdue and needs to be urgently commissioned. Equally this is yet another reason why NHS England needs to deliver a significant rescue package to tackle the root causes of the workload pressures GPs face each day.

‘If they fail to do so the impact on GPs’ health and wellbeing will only become greater.’

Battling Burnout

Match - stress - burnout - online

Match - stress - burnout - online

Pulse launched its Battling Burnout campaign in 2013, calling for a nationwide occupational health service for GPs to access.

Last year, Pulse’s survey of 2,230 GPs showed 50% are at high risk of burnout, up four percentage points from the same survey two years ago.

This year, an NHS England-commissioned study concluded that GPs under the age of 50 are abandoning UK general practice as they feel ‘unsupported and vulnerable to burnout’.

Read more about Pulse’s Battling Burnout campaign


Readers' comments (10)

  • Very true's difficult in current climate.Support is negligible.Occupational health should be reinstated for GP's - sometimes difficult to access care as you work in same area and reluctant for colleagues to know that you are suffering- not necessarily confidentiality though

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  • I think doctors should form their own health support group. It should raise funds for supporting overstressed GPs and could provide legal funds for litigation against the government for failure to provide a safe framework for work. The cqc gmc, no limit to the amount of work dumped on the doorstep etc... all make working very difficult and stressful. The BMA will never look after us now so we need to do it for ourselves and our families.

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  • Ditto management in practices, CCGs, hospitals, community providers and GP Feds

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  • This is truly horrific. An occupational service would be good, but it is the terms and conditions that doctors work under, the pressure of not wanting tolet colleagues patients down that can lead to stress depression etc.
    In cases where an individual suffers from stress and takes time off sick it is incumbent on the employer to make adjustments to the workplace. If this is not done a tribunal will find against the employer.
    It is time our employer i.e the NHS tokk its respnsibility seriously.

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  • I am not sure how far the occupational health support will help doctors.It will certainly not help me. I would like to mention that when I was investigated following a vexatious complaint made by colleagues, I did not even trust the occupational health.I felt the investigating agency were only trying save themselves from being blamed if the stressed doctor was to do something silly. What we need is prevention.People armed with lies, making vexatious complaints against health care professional should be investigated and disciplined if found guilty

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  • GMC should take over arranging marrying and entering civil partnerships for doctors. that way expectations of new families will be managed early. the vows should clearly say that doctors first concern is for their patients, than Practice, than wider NHS, rational prescribing, cost-effectiveness, avoiding unnecessary admissions, CPD, revalidation...and then there is family- they can self care...

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  • This is toxic working pressures in the NHS for all doctors. We could take this to courts. Health and safety for our patients(GMC/CQC should look at patient safety) and destruction of our family life etc. etc. This comes under human right legislation- does it not!

    support the Juniors in their court case.

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  • Is this not a case of employment harm for which NHSE and government can be taken to court over & forced to change their behaviour as well as deliver damages and costs?

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  • you know you are too busy when:

    you have to wee in the wash basin because you havent got time to go to the toilet

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  • Don't make the same mistake as me - in thinking that patient's are the priority. I have given my all to my patient's and practice, and in doing so have lost my marriage and my own future happiness - there is only so long a husband will wait at home while his GP wife is still at work 14-15+ hours a day.....and I can assure you no one gives a sh*t as long as they can get an appointment when they want, and you keep turning up to work!

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