Medical professionals in significant mental health crisis

A huge one in three GPs suffer from the symptoms of depression due to mounting workloads, a new study has revealed.

The survey, published by Medscape, shows that 33 per cent of GPs would describe themselves as being ‘burned out’, ‘depressed’, or ‘both’.

Overwhelmingly, 62 per cent of the respondents attributed tasks such as paperwork as a major contributory factor, while 57 per cent of GPs felt they spent too many hours at work.

However, while GPs spend every waking hour in the day assisting others, many are not seeking help for themselves.

The survey suggests that just 13 per cent of GPs affected by burnout or depression were seeking professional help, while half said they had considered retirement to ease the burden on their mental health.

Commenting on the figures, RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said GPs are under unprecedented pressures and are working harder than ever, “often putting in 12-hour days in clinic and on some days having to make more than 100 patient contacts to cope with the workload”.

“As a result, talented and experienced GPs are reaching breaking point, with many feeling like they have no choice but to leave the profession prematurely because of the risk to their own health and wellbeing,” she said.

Another study, published last year, found that more than 1,363 GPs are using the NHS’s burnout service, designed to help medical professionals deal with stress, addiction and other mental health conditions.

Professor Stokes-Lampard added: “There comes a point beyond which we can no longer guarantee safe patient care and much more needs to be done to solve the root cause of the workload and resource pressures primary care teams are dealing with.”

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