Hospital Dr News

Pandemic having negative impact on NHS doctors’ wellbeing, survey reveals

The pandemic has affected NHS doctors’ mental health and wellbeing, with many describing increased stress, anxiety and emotional exhaustion in recent months.

In the BMA’s latest tracker survey, 41% of doctors are suffering with depression, anxiety, stress, burnout, emotional distress or another mental health condition relating to or made worse by their work.

Nearly a third say this has got worse during the pandemic.

More than 7,000 doctors responded to questions about their mental health and more than 2,000 provided personal accounts of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on them.

They described how long working hours in unfamiliar settings, intensified conditions, worries about PPE, fear of contracting Covid-19 and passing it on to their loved ones, losing such a high number of patients and seeing bereaved families, was having an effect on their own wellbeing.

One respondent said: “Seeing people dying, receiving and breaking bad news, no socialising outside work to refresh and recharge – all these factors increased the level of anxiety and depression.”

Another commented: “I am frequently tearful about all those who have died; continuously fearful of contracting Covid and secondarily infecting my family.”

The BMA’s own wellbeing support services have seen a 40% increase in use over the last three months, including from those who are feeling anxious about going to work to face unknown situations.

The BMA is calling for more support for doctors suffering with poor mental health and wellbeing.

It wants a long-term strategy that protects and maintains the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of the workforce to be a top priority for the NHS, lasting beyond any interim Covid-19 support.

Dr David Wrigley, BMA council deputy chair and wellbeing lead, said: “This week has seen a sea-change with doctors coming forward in an outpouring of heart-breaking accounts that lay bare the heavy toll that Covid-19 has had on our mental health and wellbeing. From working longer hours in often unfamiliar settings and under increased pressure, to having to see a large number of patients dying day after day and attempting to console their relatives, the emotional strain doctors have been placed under is huge.

“In addition, doctors are understandably anxious about their own health and the risks posed to their loved ones. This is exacerbated over concerns that a second peak may be just around the corner.

“Throughout this pandemic doctors and healthcare workers have been painted as heroes – and the efforts that they have gone to in caring for their patients is certainly heroic. But they are not superhuman. They need to feel able to seek help and that help must be readily available.”

Bookmark and Share

Post a Comment

Enter this security code

Submit Comment for Moderation