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Doctors are suffering from 'moral injury' not burnout, says college leader

The NHS needs to stop referring to doctors as suffering from ‘burnout’, as it implies they and not the system are at fault, the president of the Royal College of Physicians will say in a keynote address today.

Speaking at the RCP annual conference in Manchester, Professor Andrew Goddard will say the health service should start referring to the ‘moral injury’ suffered by doctors. 

His speech follows research that showed 90% of GPs are at ’high risk’ of burnout. Nine in 10 doctors in the survey said their workplace has had an impact on their mental health, while more than a quarter were diagnosed with a mental health condition in the last 12 months.

Professor Goddard will say: ’What we call burnout, that sense of despair, hopelessness and loss of joy is not due to a failure of the individual. It is a failure of the environment they work in, the culture of the workplace imposed on them.

’Some, particularly in the States have started to call this process ”moral injury” as it puts the onus back on the system.’

Professor Goddard points out that the number of emergency admissions has increased by over 50% alongside a 25% reduction of bed numbers since 2002, leading to growing pressure for doctors.

However, he wil urged doctors to remain positive: ’Talking about the negatives will not achieve much… We need to highlight the positive ways we can support ourselves and each other. I will continue, unashamedly, to tell everyone I can why I think medicine is brilliant and how we can support each other.”

 

Readers' comments (6)

  • FFS another different college not really calling out the the elephant in the room.Will they produce colouring books as well.

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  • I don't know, talking about the negatives achieved me moving to Canada. Good job team.

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  • its not moral injury - its workplace abuse by the NHS to its staff. Because of the inherent kindness of its staff the NHS has not been sued as much as it should have been. which in itself is another abuse.

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  • AL "4 TRIES IN ONE GAME" BUNDY

    An all inclusive contract with unlimited liability will do this

    contracts need changing
    clearly stipulating on levels of
    face 2 face contacts
    visits
    admin hours
    etc

    This is why everyone is preferring to locum

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  • AL "4 TRIES IN ONE GAME" BUNDY

    WHY NOT JUST SAY
    GP'S ARE DONKEYS WITH TOO MUCH LOADED ON THEM

    "THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE DONKEYS BACK"
    90% of GP'S are at high risk of the last straw breaking their backs...

    Everyone seems to totally ignore the GP suicides linked to the system
    Remember General practice made Richie unwell..

    Unfortunately you have to look after yourself
    Its not worth your life
    walk away
    spend time with loved ones

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  • "...a failure of the environment they work in, the culture of the workplace imposed on them."
    Well put as well as :-0
    "...emergency admissions has increased by over 50% alongside a 25% reduction of bed numbers since 2002, leading to growing pressure for doctors."

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