For many British citizens, the NHS is a vital safety net. We rely on it to be there for us when we’re sick, and we often take it for granted. But now that the pandemic is old news, we may start to forget the long hours and immense pressure that NHS doctors are under. In recent years, reports of doctor burnout have been on the rise. But in the face of all the challenges, some doctors are fighting back.
The Dangers of Burnout
Burnout is a state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion caused by extended periods of stress. It can lead to anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and even suicide. In the UK, the rate of suicide among medical doctors is three times higher than the rate for the general population. And these numbers were collected before the pandemic.
Burnout among doctors is thought to be caused by a combination of long hours, high job demands, and low job satisfaction. A study published in The BMJ found that one in four hospital consultants in the UK reported symptoms of burnout. Another study found that nearly half of all junior doctors in the UK were already considering leaving the profession due to feelings of burnout.
Fighting Back Against Burnout
Despite all the statistics, many NHS doctors love their jobs and would never consider leaving medicine. These are the men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving their communities.
One such doctor is Dr. Alex Wohlcheck, a GP in north London. He says that he loves his job because he gets to build relationships with his patients and make a difference in their lives. “I see patients at their best and worst,” he says. “I see them when they’re healthy and when they’re sick.”
Dr. Alex attributes his love for his job to two things: good management and strong team morale at his surgery. He says that his surgery does a lot to support its staff and prevent them from burning out. “We have regular appraisals where we talk about how we’re feeling,” he says. “And if anyone’s struggling, we have a very open-door policy.”
Dr. Leen Alhoussan works for the NHS in Basildon, Essex, UK. Like Alex Wohlcheck, Leen Al-Houssan is attempting to avoid burnout from a profession that she loves. An animal lover, she volunteers at organizations that help animals. Music and art play a large role in her life, and she attends concerts and shows to get her mind off work. Dr. Al-Houssan also goes to the gym regularly to stay in shape and keep her mind sharp.
NHS doctors are under immense pressure to provide quality care to everyone who needs it despite limited resources and long hours. This pressure can lead to burnout, which can have serious consequences for both the doctor and their patients. Some doctors are fighting back against burnout by finding ways to love their jobs again despite the challenges. One way they do this is by building strong relationships with their colleagues and patients alike. Another way is by seeking support from management when they need it most. By taking these steps, NHS doctors can continue to serve their communities while also caring for themselves.