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Half of GPs suffer stress

By Amy Fallon

Many GPs are suffering from stress, anxiety and even depression as a result of their job, but they are often reluctant to seek help from others, according to a Pulse survey of GP morale.

Of the 576 GPs surveyed, 46% said they suffered from stress, with one in five suffering from anxiety and 7% from depression. In addition, 1% of GPs admitted they had alcohol misuse problems.

Almost half (48%) of respondents who reported health problems said they had addressed them through 'self-help' measures, while 19% had taken no action. Only 7% had seen their GP and 4% had seen a specialist, while 1% had prescribed for themselves.

GPs taking part in the survey were more likely to ascribe alcohol and drug misuse to their colleagues than themselves. Some 11% said they knew a colleague misusing alcohol and 2% a colleague misusing drugs.

Dr Clare Gerada, RCGP chair and medical director of the Practitioner Health Programme, said she believed that GPs were 'fearful' of admitting alcohol misuse: 'Alcohol misuse is high among doctors, and probably higher than in a matched population such as lawyers.'

Dr Clare Gerada