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NHS should do exit interviews with doctors who quit and publish results, says BMA

Doctors call for published, anonymised exit interviews of all NHS employees

The BMA wants NHS organisations to be mandated to carry out exit interviews with doctors who quit.

A motion passed unanimously at today’s Annual Representative Meeting (ARM) said all UK governments ‘must require all NHS employers to conduct exit interviews using an evidence-based tool’.

These should be anonymised and published on an open access database, and will help identify the drivers for doctors leaving the profession, the motion added.

Exit interviews would use an adaption of the DEStress tool, originally designed for junior doctors.

New national NHS platforms should also be created, allowing employees to share views on workplace management and culture.

Proposer of the motion, BMA South Central regional council chair Mr Ian McNab, said the NHS’s ‘tsunami of burnout’ must be addressed ‘urgently’.

Dr Georgina Budd spoke in favour of the motion and said that ‘the situation at the moment not only fails patients, it fails ourselves’.

She added: ‘Burnout has intrinsic links with our abilities to care and to empathise not only with our patients, but with each other.’

BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘Burnout isn’t just an issue for the individual. It is jeopardising patient safety.’

A GMC survey last year warned GPs are the most likely to be at a high risk of burnout compared with other doctors, with around a third (32%) of GPs operating at this level.

Another GMC survey of doctors leaving the profession revealed more than four in ten GPs who have quit the NHS did so due to burnout.

A recent Pulse survey revealed that half of the existing GP workforce plans to retire at or before the age of 60.

Motion in full:

Motion by SOUTH CENTRAL REGIONAL COUNCIL: That this meeting is extremely concerned by the unacceptably high levels of doctor burnout in GMC and BMA surveys and demands that UK Governments must require all NHS employers to:- 

i) conduct exit interviews using an evidence-based tool that has been specifically designed to identify stressors in junior doctors and can help pinpoint drivers for resignations (e.g. the DEStress instrument) – PASSED

ii) take immediate action to alleviate the stressors that are driving doctor burnout and resignations – PASSED

iii) publish the anonymised results of exit interviews via an open access national database, to allow the analysis of the drivers for burnout and resignation, and to enable job applicants to compare employment conditions at different NHS employers – PASSED

iv) create and subscribe to new national NHS platforms that share employees’ views on their employing organisations’ management and culture (similar to the Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” UK webpage), to further incentivise employers to respond to concerns – PASSED

Source: BMA