News ID: 251829
Published: 0700 GMT April 24, 2019

Report highlights mental health crisis of British doctors

Report highlights mental health crisis of British doctors

A new British Medical Association (BMA) report based on survey data has found a ‘severe mental health crisis among the country’s physicians and medical students.

It now called for major changes in workplace cultures to help build working environments with better access to support services and an end to doctors who are unable to ask for help, wrote.

The survey on mental health and well-being involved 4,347 respondents, including some 1,400 medical students. The results of the ‘Report Care of Mental Health of the Medical Workforce’ include:


● 80 percent of British physicians had a high or very high burnout risk.

● Burnout risk was highest among junior physicians.

● 27 percent of respondents said they had diagnosed mental illness at some point in their careers, with seven percent diagnosed last year.

● 40 percent of respondents said they currently have a wider range of psychological states and emotional conditions.

● Those who worked the longest hours (51 or more per week) reported problems most frequently.

● 90 percent of respondents stated that the current work, training or study environments have a significant or partial contribution to their problems.

● Half of general practitioners said that they or their practice asked for help in conditions that were affecting themselves affect work or training.

● One in three reported on regular or occasional use of drugs, self-medication or prescription to manage mental health. Moreover, this was more common among men and older physicians.

● 63 percent of respondents knew how to access support, with the highest levels of medical student awareness, lowest among junior physicians in their workplace or study environment.

The results echoed Medscape UK's own December 2018 survey of physicians and practitioners burnout. Almost a third of the 968 British doctors (32 percent) reported that they felt burned out at some point, and 14 percent said they were depressed. The main cause of the doctors' depression was the work, which had a negative impact on relationships with patients and colleagues.


Building a supportive culture


A detailed set of possible solutions will be developed by the BMA this summer. However, some early bullet points were issued in the report:


● Assessment of the NHS workforce with customization options, such as: E.g. leisure or short-time work

● Preventive measures, including environment-friendly environments

● Mental health awareness and stigmatization over access to assistance

● Support in providing support and mental health improvement strategies

● Support also in the context of high-impact events such as career moves and traumatic incidents

● Improving awareness of services

● Providing adequate support for timely, confidential and flexible services

● Providing spaces for recreation, refreshments and reflection on experiences with Colleagues

● Promoting self-help and peer support


The survey was conducted by Professor Dinesh Bhugra, BMA President and Emeritus Professor of Mental Health and Cultural Diversity at Kings College, London. In a statement, he said, "This report sheds light on the alarming mental health crisis that is currently affecting the medical workforce, as the link between the current pressure on physicians and poor mental health can no longer be ignored."

He said, "The enormous demands made on physicians are associated with a disquieting price."

"While it cannot be denied that the job of a doctor is a challenging and demanding role, too often the line what can be considered as a routine pressure of work It was definitely crossed, and the result is a workforce that has come to the brink of collapse.

"As people entrusted with caring for the health of others, doctors often feel particularly vulnerable or cannot report and seek help. Out of fear of court and/or any perceived despair can be an explanation of poor mental health on their behalf

"In addition, they are focusing on the immediate pressures that a number of physicians who have on health, such as long hours, unmanageable workload and gaps, need a broader cultural shift that addresses this stigma that currently exists disabling physicians in search of help, and ensuring that support is made public and available to those who do so.

"A system that does not support and protect the health of its own workforce will only go down in flames, and this is a clear call to action, if any."

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