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Pulse launches major national survey of GP burnout



GPs are today being asked to evaluate their risk of burnout in Pulse’s second profession-wide survey of workload and workplace stress.

The 22-question survey – to be launched at the Pulse Live conference in London today – uses the validated Maslach Burnout Inventory© which has been adapted for GPs.

Pulse first launched the survey as part of its Battling Burnout campaign in 2013, at a time when former RCGP chair Professor Clare Gerada said the NHS was at a ‘tipping point’ for GP welfare.

The original survey revealed that almost half of GPs were at high risk of burnout, with 97% saying they did not feel they are positively influencing people’s lives or accomplishing much in their role – figures that GP leaders said were hugely concerning for the future of the profession.

The campaign won a commitment from NHS England to fund a ‘high-quality’ national occupational health service for all GPs, after showing a growing number of GPs were taking time off work as a result of burnout and petitioning NHS England chairman Professor Malcolm Grant.

But although NHS England pledged to have a new occupational health specification by September, it has not yet set out the details of the new service and gold-standard schemes are having funding shut off.

Pulse editor Nigel Praities urged GPs to take part so an ‘accurate picture’ could be formed.

He said: ‘In 2013, we carried out the largest-ever survey of the levels of burnout among UK GPs, and this showed shocking levels of mental exhaustion and depersonalisation among GPs.

‘We want to repeat this survey this year to see if the levels of burnout have changed, and to continue to lobby for better support for the profession.

‘I urge as many GPs as possible to take part so that we can get an accurate picture of the effect of rising workload and stress on the mental health of GPs.’

The survey also contains advice and numbers on where GPs can turn if they’re beginning to feel the effects of burnout.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul told Pulse: ‘We currently have unprecedented levels of GP stress, and risk of burnout. The BMA’s own tracker survey shows 74% of GPs think their workload is unmanageable, and unsustainable, and that’s higher than any other category of doctors.

‘I have advised CCGs to make sure their board have an item on GP pressure on each board agenda, because there is a huge risk of widespread burnout, and it’s important that CCGs support GPs and their practices.’