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Are GPs heading for burnout?

Are you struggling to cope with life as a GP because of the ever-increasing demands being made on you? Or do you feel the new NHS offers a better world for you and your practice?

GPs attending Pulse Live in Birmingham on 30 April will hear the arguments on both sides and vote for or against the motion that `All GPs are headed for burnout’.

Speaking for the motion will be Dr Hamed Khan, a GP in Surrey and board member of the RCGP South London faculty, backed up by Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the GPC.

Dr Khan tells Pulse: `GPs have a higher workload than ever before - we are seeing more patients than ever before, often with multiple complicated problems. Problems arising from unemployment, poor housing and depression are finding their way to our consultation rooms more and more often. Service reductions in secondary care also add to our ever-increasing workload. With patient complaints rising, it is no surprise that GPs are increasingly defensive in their practice. And to make the situation worse, practice funding and pay is reducing.

`As 12-hour days become a norm and the number of GPs suffering from burnout rises, it is no surprise that more and more GPs are leaving partnerships and permanent salaried posts. Many have said that general practice is heading for a crash - if so we must act now to stop it. The future of the entire NHS is at stake.’

Speaking against will be Dr Nikita Kanani, a GP in South East London, CCG clinical executive member, medical adviser for NHS Direct and co-chair of The Network. She will be seconded by Dr Donal Hynes, co-vice-chair of the NHS Alliance and a GP in Somerset.

Dr Kanani says: `Darwin once said “It is not the strongest of the species, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” GPs are highly skilled, professional and adaptable. We’ve always found a way to do our job - and to do it well, no matter the pressures.

`The NHS is changing, and as advocates for our community we will need to change too. The Francis report reminds us of the dangers that a culture focused on “doing the system’s business – not that of the patients” can bring. With creative ways of working with our community colleagues we will be able use the opportunities before us to make general practice sustainable - and enjoyable - long into the future.’

In the Pulse Live afternoon session, Dr Tony Garelick and Dr Maja Meerten from the Tavistock clinic’s MedNet support service for doctors suffering from stress will advise on the warning signs that should alert you to the fact you’re not coping – and some practical strategies to reduce work-related stress and avert burnout.

Pulse Live will be held on April 30 and May 1 at the Birmingham Metropole Hotel. 

Click here to go to the Pulse Live website