More GPs are seeking help for stress, RACGP says
THE number of stressed GPs turning to help and counselling support services has risen in a year plagued by natural disasters and the global financial crisis.
According to RACGP president Dr Chris Mitchell, anecdotal evidence suggested the number of doctors accessing the college’s GP Support Program had increased noticeably in recent months.
“It has been a bugger of a year – there are clearly the financial issues that have been impacting general practice, but also some major disasters, including floods and fires,” Dr Mitchell said.
“Those issues make it very hard for us.”
The service, which offers college members free counselling by qualified psychologists, helps GPs deal with stress brought on by work pressures, grief, loss, anxiety, depression and traumatic incidents.
The news follows a recent Medical Observer reader survey, which found nearly 60% of GPs were reporting “troubling” to “unmanageable” levels of stress relating to government bureaucracy, health reform angst and the everyday pressures of general practice (MO, 10 July).
The MO survey findings were backed by those from researchers at the University of Notre Dame. A study of 178 GPs in WA found that 65% felt bureaucracy, poor job satisfaction and disillusionment were obstacles to working in general practice. These factors, along with workforce shortages and excessive workloads, were prompting a third to consider early retirement.
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