Doctors ‘suffering mental health problems’ due to outbreak

Poll finds 40% of doctors are living with depression, anxiety or another mental health issue related to their job.

Doctors ‘suffering mental health problems’ due to outbreak Pixabay

A quarter of doctors in Scotland have suffered mental health problems due to the coronavirus outbreak, a new survey suggests.

The poll by the British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland found 40% of doctors are living with depression, anxiety or another mental health problem that relates to or has been made worse by their jobs.

The survey also found 25% of those reporting a problem were not suffering it before the coronavirus outbreak.

Dr Lewis Morrison, the chairman of BMA Scotland, said: “The NHS has so far coped incredibly well with the biggest challenge it has faced since its inception.

“This is in no small way down to the incredible commitment, determination and sacrifice of its staff.

“But this is taking an inevitable toll. Each and every death as a result of Covid-19 is an incredibly sad event for so many families and our sympathy and thoughts are with them.

“But each death, and the cumulative effect of so many deaths, also has a major impact on the teams caring for them in the community and in hospitals.

“I am in no way surprised that a quarter of doctors say their mental health is suffering, and that is clearly worrying.”

Dr Morrison praised the implementation of some changes aimed at improving the mental health of staff.

He said: “In some ways, we have taken some steps forward during the pandemic in terms of staff wellbeing – in particular through the local introduction of well-being spaces, the removal of parking charges and provision of hot food.

“That such basic measures took a pandemic to be put in place emphasises the unacceptable place that we came from and that we cannot retreat from these improvements as Covid-19 hopefully retreats.”

The poll of 1351 doctors in Scotland also found 20% were not receiving the support they would like.

When asked about their main concerns, 47% said the increase in clinical demand during the pandemic, while 25% were most worried about the effects of the pandemic on new working arrangements.

According to the survey, problems around personal protective equipment appear to be improving, with 36% saying they feel fully protected at work, a rise from 14% when the same question was asked two weeks ago.

Addressing the concerns about clinical demand, Dr Morrison said: “While we have focused on the immediate challenges of the pandemic – and rightly so – many have expressed concern about the impact on those with other conditions and our ability to care for them.”

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