Working in healthcare can be tough and demanding. Increased workloads, fewer resources and rising patient expectations can take their toll on a doctor’s mental health, as can experience of a negligence claim, and high levels of regulation and scrutiny.
A recent Medical Protection survey of over 600 members revealed that 85% had personal experience of mental health issues, with stress, anxiety, low self-esteem and depression being among the most common issues doctors deal with.
If you feel you are experiencing issues with mental health, we advise you to:
- Seek help early on - in order to maximise your chances of a speedy recovery and ensure patient well-being, it is vital to seek help when symptoms first present themselves.
- Do not be discouraged - 24% of doctors told us they believe there is a stigma attached to mental health issues, which may deter them from seeking help. If you do not feel comfortable speaking to a colleague or manager, you should contact a confidential counselling service (below) or your GP.
If you are worried about a colleague:
- Speak up about your concerns - doctors have a professional obligation to consider the impact a colleague’s health could have on the care they provide to patients. Discuss your concerns about their mental health with them, and advise them to seek help.
- Seek guidance - As a registered medical practitioner, you have an overriding obligation to ensure a colleague’s health does not have an adverse impact on patient safety. If you have worries about yourself or someone you work with, you may wish to seek guidance from a trusted colleague, your line manager or responsible officer.
- If you feel that you are struggling to raise the issue locally, call Medical Protection who will be able to advise you on the next steps. As a final option, it may be necessary to inform the General Medical Council of any concerns you have.