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GP leader calls for parliamentary debate over GP burnout

The GPC has called for a parliamentary debate on the issue of GP burnout following a Pulse investigation that found that almost half of GPs were at high risk of burning out.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the issue of burnout ‘deserves parliamentary debate’ in a post on social networking site Twitter.

Dr Mike Bewick, NHS England’s deputy director of primary care, has acknowledged the problem of burnout and said he was ‘committed’ to working with GPs to reduce workload pressures, though LMC leaders on the ground have criticised its failure to support occupational health services supporting burnt out GPs.

This follows Pulse’s survey of almost 1,800 GPs as part of its Battling Burnout campaign and found that 43% of respondents were classified as being at a very high risk of developing burnout, results the GPC described at the time as ‘hugely concerning’.

Partners and those working in deprived areas were at the highest risk, and a worrying 97% of GPs said they did not feel they were accomplishing much in their role or positively influencing other people’s lives.

The survey was conducted on the Pulse website and at the Pulse Live conference in May, using a validated questionnaire – the Maslach Burnout Inventory tool – adapted for GPs.

It contained questions assessing three key areas that signal a high risk of burning out – emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and a low level of personal accomplishment. It was drawn up with input from RCGP chair Professor Clare Gerada and the College of Medicine.

Almost all the GPs surveyed were classified as being at risk of burnout in at least one area.

Readers' comments (3)

  • The cause of burnout is excessive workload and demand. Demand to the point of exhaustion.
    Having worked hundreds of 80 hour weekends with 3-4 hours sleep, I have always wondered why we, as a profession, allow this to happen,
    At the same time, numerous newspapers, Ministers and the DOH think we do not work hard enough.
    There is a very simple solution to all this argument and angst. We do not a parliamentary debate to state the obvious - a definition of safe working hours and patients seen in a day. Everyone's right to a balance of work/ life, to health and safety should also be ours.
    We doctors need to define this, not anyone else. No one tells pilots what hours they should work. Why has this not happened already and why does it take a 50% burnout to look at a fundamental problem ? If we think patients will suffer - au contraire - they suffer from a poor service because we do not stand up for proper doctor / patient ratios.
    The fault is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings to the DOH.

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  • The daily mail and the Tories applaud a private polish practice in Wimbledon who charge the same rate for 30mins that the Tories pay us in a year for looking after one patient,they want us to leave the NHS and I think with the high levels of burnout we should oblige and leave,we need to charge the consumer it is the only way to limit demand we may not earn more but the stress levels will fall,as senior partner I am worried when I retire in 4 years my 2 partners will throw in the towel and the practice will close,and we are a rural dispensing practice god help the rest

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  • This is what the CQC should check- Our burnout questionnaires not our compassion! At least it is validated and measureable!

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