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One in three GPs suffer from burnout due to workload, figures show

One third of GPs in the UK are suffering from burnout, according to new research.

The report, which looked at burnout in clinicians across the world, surveyed nearly 20,000 doctors across the UK, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the US and found more than one in three (37%) feels burned out and one in ten (10%) experiences both burnout and depression.

In the UK, 32% of GPs reported burnout, with one quarter of those saying it is 'so severe' they were might abandon medicine.

These GPs reported bureaucracy, being overworked and lack of respect from administrators, employers, or colleagues as the main contributing factors.

The research, published last week, found Portugal (37%), Spain (33%) and France (24%) had the highest rate of GP burnout, with the UK close behind with 21%. In Germany that number dropped to 13%.

To combat burnout, 39% of UK GPs said having more reasonable patient loads would help, while French doctors suggested more support staff.

The report, published by Medscape, said: 'The UK doctor community appeared to feel the effects of burnout most acutely, with a quarter (25%) saying the impact was so severe they were thinking of abandoning medicine altogether.

'Spanish doctors indicated the lowest impact, with one in four (27%) saying that burnout did not interfere with their lives and only 9% saying they were considering leaving the profession.'

Research has previously shown GPs experiencing burnout are twice as likely to make mistakes, such as prescribing the wrong medication and incorrectly diagnosing patients.

This week, Health Education England called on the Government to implement a ‘Samaritans-style’ mental health service for GPs, as part of a report outlining how to improve mental health and wellbeing in the NHS.

The Department of Health and Social Care told Pulse the recommendations made in the report will be looked at as part of the upcoming workforce implementation plan, due in April.

Figures in full

Are you burned out and/or depressed? (GPs only, 690 total)

 FranceGermanyPortugalSpainUK

Total Responding

214

82

70

140

184

Burned out

24%

13%

37%

33%

21%

Depressed

7%

15%

7%

0%

3%

Both burned out and depressed

11%

7%

7%

7%

9%

Source: Medscape Global Burnout Comparison

Readers' comments (5)

  • No worries!
    There’s about 34k GPs in England.
    9% being ‘Both burned out and depressed’ is only about 3k???

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  • That is 11200, that are either burned out, depressed or both.The NHS is stuffed on the basis of these statistics.

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  • doctordog.

    Then reduce your workload or walk away.

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  • I must say I'm disappointed. I thought the UK would be leading the field with the highest burnout rate.

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  • I am very surprised. The workload is so so intense, the hours so long, the worry of error and consequent litigation and complaints so high, the pressure so unrelenting that I find it heartening that only 1/3rd feel it. I am obviously not coping as well as the majority.

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