73% of GP registras are experiencing stress, anxiety or depression whilst working in general practice

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21st March 2024 12:32 - Health

73% of GP registras are experiencing stress, anxiety or depression whilst working in general practice: A recent survey has revealed the extent of pressures on GP registras with almost three quarters of those surveyed by the BMA experiencing stress, anxiety or depression working in general practice.

In addition to highlighting the mental struggles faced by many doctors in training, heightening the risk of burnout, the survey also found increasing levels of uncertainty over UK career prospects. When asked if they felt positive about their potential future career as a GP in the UK, two thirds of respondents (60%) answered ‘no’ with over a quarter (26%) saying they intended to work as a GP abroad.

The research, conducted by the British Medical Association (BMA), engaged over 3,000 GPs in training over a 19-day period in January this year to better understand the current experience of working in general practice, including working hours and relations with physician associates (PAs). Thirty percent of respondents said they worked outside of their scheduled working hours on a daily basis with just two percent saying they never had to work late.

Of the two fifths (40%) of respondents who had worked with PAs in general practice, feelings were mixed as to the perceived level of impact this relationship had on their work. Although 38% said the presence of PAs had no impact, 39% said it had a negative effect on their levels of training and supervision from qualified GPs. A further two thirds (65%) expressed an unease at having to write prescriptions on behalf of PAs in general practice.

The BMA GP registras committee chair Malinga Ratwatte described the survey results as a ‘sad picture’ of the future of UK general practice and expressed how although the results were ‘shocking’, they came as no surprise given the current state of funding and conditions.

Charlotte Sykes, Research Director and Healthcare Lead at DJS Research, has shared her thoughts based on her own experience working directly with those in general practice:

“In the past 3 years, we are certainly seeing evidence of increasing pressures on general practice through those we engage with due to lack of resource and staffing at all levels from Registrar to Partner and Nursing staff too. The Physician Associate role has clearly been designed to alleviate some of these pressures, by getting more people into supporting roles more quickly – it will be interesting to see how this plays out in practice over the coming years”

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