8 out of 10 UK doctors are at substantial risk of burnout

  • Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Professional News
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A survey by the BMA has discovered that eight out of 10 UK doctors are at a substantial risk of burnout.

Of 4,300 doctors and medical students surveyed, more than a quarter had received previous, formal diagnoses of mental health conditions, and four out of 10 said they were suffering from psychological or emotional distress, which affected their work, training or study.

Based on the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory, the responses revealed that junior doctors were most likely of all groups to be at high/very high risk of burnout (91%), followed by GP partners (88%), SAS doctors (87%), sessional GPs (85%), and consultants (83%).

Women showed higher rates of risk of burnout than men. People working longer hours (51 hours or more) also had a high risk of burnout.

Overall, four in 10 respondents to the survey reported currently suffering from depression, anxiety, burnout, stress, emotional distress and/or another mental health condition that is impacting on their work/training/study.

Ninety per cent of respondents stated that their current working, training, or studying environment had contributed to their condition either in a significant or partial extent.

A worryingly high proportion of some groups reported asking for support, but not being offered any. Respondents aged 64 or older (31%), overseas qualified (21%) and SAS doctors (20%) were most likely to report a lack of support.

The survey is part of a larger BMA project which is looking at ways to improve the mental health of the medical workforce. The second research phase of the project will look in more detail at the issues raised by the survey. The results are due to be published in the summer.

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