‘Doctors at risk of quitting due to burnout’

Doctors are considering leaving the profession due to burnout and a lack of work life balance, says survey.



NHS organisations, Care Quality Commission, government and private healthcare must act to tackle the ‘endemic ‘ burnout in healthcare and support doctors to stay in practice, according to a leading medical protection organisation.

In its report – “Breaking the burnout cycle” – the Medical Protection Society (MPS) said that only organisation-wide interventions will safeguard the wellbeing of doctors and avoid them becoming burnt out and disillusioned in ever greater numbers.

An MPS survey of 275 doctors in the UK revealed that more than one third (35%) of respondents have considered moving abroad due to personal wellbeing concerns, 45% have considered leaving the profession for the same reasons, and 44% said they do not feel encouraged by their line manager/GP partner to discuss wellbeing issues.

MPS is calling for:

  • A named Wellbeing Guardian in every NHS organisation by 2022, with the same principle applied to GP practices, ensuring access to someone who is trained to recognise and support them when they are experiencing difficulties.
  • Governments to fund a confidential counselling service for all healthcare professionals across England, Wales, Scotland and the HSC in Northern Ireland
  • The CQC to assess the extent to which healthcare providers look after the wellbeing of their doctors as a key line of enquiry.

Professor Dame Jane Dacre, MPS President, said: “The increasing levels of burnout I encounter as I talk to colleagues are extremely troubling. It is perhaps one of the great paradoxes of our age, that modern medicine allows doctors to do more for their patients than ever before, yet increasing evidence shows that doctors feel burnt out and disillusioned in ever greater numbers.

“The causes of burnout have been widely debated and include the growing demands and complexity of the job, a faster pace of work and tighter financial constraints.

“The problem is also not unique to the UK, to the NHS or to any one specialty… When doctors feel burnt out it is not only concerning for them but for patients and the wider team. Doctors who are happy and engaged are much more likely to be compassionate and provide safer patient care…

“We call on healthcare providers, the CQC, and Governments to take urgent steps to improve the working environment and to truly begin to tackle the endemic of burnout in healthcare. Only with organisational level interventions can the wellbeing of doctors be safeguarded.”

Meanwhile, a survey by Medscape on Tuesday found one in five doctors said they had been sexually harassed or witnessed it at work, with offences including explicit text messages or emails or being groped, propositioned or repeatedly asked to go on a date.

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