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GPs given chance to anonymously raise concerns about colleagues’ burnout



An LMC has created a web tool allowing GPs to anonymously raise concerns about colleagues they feel are putting themselves at risk of burnout.

Doncaster LMC has launched its ‘Concerned about a colleague’ reporting tool, an entirely confidential service which allows GPs or practice staff to highlight GPs who may be in need of pastoral support.

The service allows reporters to give details of their concerns, and they can highlight whether they wish to be contacted by the LMC should more detail be needed.

The page also directs to local and national support services and states: ‘NHS General Practice is under unprecedented pressure.  As such, we are all at risk of work related stress, burn out and depression.’

‘Often, the symptoms of these are insidious and can be more obvious to those around us than to ourselves.  So, if you have concerns about a colleague and feel that they need our support, we’d like to hear from you.’

Doncaster LMC medical secretary Dr Dean Eggitt, told Pulse: ‘If you recognise a colleague is struggling, whatever signs and symptoms you see, you let us know in confidence and we will take that information and try to provide support around that GP. This is the start of the process.’

The scheme came about after a ‘warts and all’ discussion, at a recent LMC meeting on the pressures being felt by GPs in the area where Dr Eggitt says ‘there was a moment of reflection where we thought we could have been more proactive in helping them, rather than waiting for it to come to a head.’

Dr Eggitt added: ‘The next stage is to talk to our CCG to ask for funding for a GP psychiatric rapid referral support structure.  So we can have, for example, Sheffield GPs referred to Doncaster and Doncaster GPs referred to Sheffield, and they can get emergency support as it were.’

A similar scheme in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire has recently secured CCG funding thanks to the efforts of the local LMC.

Dr Eggitt also praised Pulse’s Battling Burnout campaign. He said: ‘I take my hat off to Pulse, you’re doing very well with the burnout campaign – some of the only people who are championing it so well, actually.’

A recent Pulse survey, the largest ever of GP burnout, showed that burnout amongst the profession is at record levels.

A number of local area teams and health boards have cut occupational health services, with some LMCs having to provide services themselves.