Burnout: Survey finds half of senior medical workforce report feelings of burnout

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A major new survey has found that half of senior doctors and dentists in New Zealand report symptoms of burnout, including high levels of fatigue and stress.

A total of 42.1 per cent of respondents cited frustrations with management, intense and unrelenting workloads, under-staffing, and onerous on-call duties, as contributing factors. Almost 16 per cent attributed their burnout specifically to interactions with patients. 

Women were more likely to experience burnout (59.4 per cent) than their male counterparts (43.9 per cent), with females aged between between 30 and 39 being worst affected. The lowest rates of burnout were in respondents aged over 60.

Burnout scores increased concurrently with increasing hours worked per week.

The survey, by the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) in New Zealand, was undertaken among 1,487 senior doctors and dentists. The ASMS said, while it is “well recognised” that burnout affects the quality of patient care as well as impinging upon the risk of increased medical error, comments ascertained from respondants during the survey suggest that for the vast majority of respondents, high‐quality patient care is their raison d’être and appears to act as a key buffer against burnout.