Over half of all GP and primary care staff have indicated that workplace stress has made than physically ill at some point during their careers, a major new survey indicates.
The study conducted by the UK charity Mind found that approximately 90% of healthcare professionals consider their existing work to be stressful.
54% stated that this ultimately negatively influenced their physical health, with one-fifth asserting that it led to a mental health problem developing.
In response to the survey, GP leaders suggested that the data collated in the survey is indicative of the huge demand being placed on doctors working in general practice in particular.
Considering the information contained within the study, it will be considered damning that NHS England is already behind schedule with the launch of a £16 million national occupational mental health support services for GPs.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the GPC, asserted that the study is fully consistent with the previous findings of the British Medical Assocation.
Nagpaul believes that the existing situation in the NHS is unsustainable for staff.
“GPs and their staff are under unsustainable pressure because they are having to work long, intense hours on dwindling resources against a backdrop of rocketing patient demand. We need to ensure all parts of the primary care workforce have access to appropriate support”.
Additionally, the GPC chair asserts that the authorities can play a major role in ensuring that the situation improves in the medium-term.
“We need to address the root cause of the problems facing general practice by delivering a properly funded, fully staffed service that can meet the public’s needs, and ensure that GPs are able to work within safe and manageable limits”.
RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker stated the results were indicative of the fact that pressure on GPs “is having a serious impact on their physical and mental health”.
Baker asserted that NHS England’s GP Forward View could “go a long way to alleviating the current pressures”, but also indicated that the government should implement the recommendations of this document “as a matter of urgency, so we can keep our profession strong”.
Responding to the pol, a spokesperson for NHS England was keen to emphasise the efforts the the organisation is making to address the stress under which healthcare professionals are placed.
“We recognise that the growth in demand in primary care means that family doctors and their teams are under increasing stress, which is why there has been significant investment to increase capacity in primary care and reduce bureaucracy. In addition we are investing £19.5m in a new, national service to improve GPs’ access to mental health support helping those suffering with burn out and stress, and ultimately the retention of GPs. Work is under way to ensure GPs will soon be able to access free, confidential local support and treatment.”
The findings were from a Dods Research poll of 1,004 NHS staff working in primary care, including 111 GPs.