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GP leader calls for parliamentary debate over GP burnout

The GPC has called for a parliamentary debate on the issue of GP burnout following a Pulse investigation that found that almost half of GPs were at high risk of burning out.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the issue of burnout ‘deserves parliamentary debate’ in a post on social networking site Twitter.

Dr Mike Bewick, NHS England’s deputy director of primary care, has acknowledged the problem of burnout and said he was ‘committed’ to working with GPs to reduce workload pressures, though LMC leaders on the ground have criticised its failure to support occupational health services supporting burnt out GPs.

This follows Pulse’s survey of almost 1,800 GPs as part of its Battling Burnout campaign and found that 43% of respondents were classified as being at a very high risk of developing burnout, results the GPC described at the time as ‘hugely concerning’.

Partners and those working in deprived areas were at the highest risk, and a worrying 97% of GPs said they did not feel they were accomplishing much in their role or positively influencing other people’s lives.

The survey was conducted on the Pulse website and at the Pulse Live conference in May, using a validated questionnaire – the Maslach Burnout Inventory tool – adapted for GPs.

It contained questions assessing three key areas that signal a high risk of burning out – emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and a low level of personal accomplishment. It was drawn up with input from RCGP chair Professor Clare Gerada and the College of Medicine.

Almost all the GPs surveyed were classified as being at risk of burnout in at least one area.