Stressed GPs not getting enough support from their colleagues
GPs are not getting enough support from their colleagues as they struggle to keep on top of rising workload and balance their work and home lives, a study into GP stress finds.
One GP in four said they did not always get on with their partners and one in three said they felt 'let down' by the people they worked with.
The survey of 613 GPs also prompted fresh calls for more help for inner-city practices
after it found a link between stress levels and practising in a deprived area.
Almost two-thirds of the GPs in south-east Scotland who were surveyed said they sometimes found it hard to keep on top of their work.
More than one GP in three said it was difficult to keep a balance between work and home life and 20 per cent said they could not turn to friends or family for help. Some 36 per cent of the GPs said they either did not feel valued by colleagues or did not know whether they were valued.
The study in the June edition of Education for Primary Care said the combination of difficulty managing workload and having no one to turn to for help was 'strongly associated with distress'.
Professor Bonnie Sibbald, deputy director of the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre at the University of Manchester, said she was surprised by the finding that GPs lacked support from colleagues. 'The great majority of GPs do not have difficulties but when problems arise they have a hugely negative impact,' she said.
Study author Dr Brian McKinstry, senior researcher at the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Edinburgh and a GP in Blackburn, West Lothian, said practices that had regular informal meetings between partners 'were doing better in terms of stress and distress'.
Dr Dean Marshall, medical secretary of Lothian LMC, and a participant in the survey, said dealing with a deprived population had a knock-on
effect on GPs. 'You will take some of it home,' he said.
By Nerys Hairon