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Furness doctor wants more support to combat rising stress levels in GP staff

A LEADING doctor has called for more to be done to reduce the pressure on GP staff after a survey found that almost 90 per cent of people who work in surgeries find their work stressful. Mental health charity, Mind, found that a staggering amount of family doctors, practice nurses and reception staff felt stressed in the workplace, with 10 per cent admitting to having suicidal thoughts. Dr Arabella Onslow, deputy lead GP for Furness on Cumbria’s Clinical Commissioning Group, believes that people need to be aware of the stress that GP staff are often under.

She said: “I know from some of my colleagues that the workload has changed from treating people to doing a lot of paperwork and that can be quite overwhelming.

“Getting that work-life balance outside of the surgery can be really hard and I understand that people are aggravated and not listened to in the workplace.”

“Doctors find it hard to ask for help and there needs to be more support available to make your work more manageable. Too many people assume that doctors can cope when the reality is that they can’t.”

The survey interviewed 1,000 GP staff across the UK, with many of those citing work as the most stressful area of their lives ahead of finance, health and relationships. More than 40 per cent of those who were surveyed said that they had considered resigning as a result of work-induced stress. However, Dr Onslow thinks that stress in the workplace is not solely linked to GP staff and that other workers in different professions are also suffering. She said: “It’s not to do with being a GP, I just think that as a society we need to become more resilient.

“However, in order to achieve that we need to invest in more support and making sure that we don’t displace each other. We are always in competition with each other and there needs to be a more collaborative effort, particularly between different section of the NHS.”

GP leaders across the the country claim that the survey shows that staff are being overworked and warn this could have a detrimental effect on patients.

Dr Maureen Baker, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The current state of general practice is pushing GPs to their limit, and a service that relies on sick and fatigued GPs is not good for patient safety.”

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the GP committee at the British Medical Association, said: “This poll reinforces that GPs and their staff are under unsustainable pressure because they are having to work long, intense hours on dwindling resources against a backdrop of rocketing patient demand.”


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