One in five Scottish GPs are so stressed they feel they cannot cope at least once a week

More than one in five Scottish GPs are so stressed they feel they cannot cope at least once a week, says RCGP

In a ComRes survey commissioned by RCGP Scotland, more than one in five of Scottish GPs (22%) say they are so stressed they feel they cannot cope at least once a week.

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, the Royal College of General Practitioners Scotland (RCGP Scotland) has published the figures to raise awareness of the impact of rising workloads on GPs’own mental health and wellbeing.

Due to a shortage of family doctors, GPs are struggling to cope with rising demand and are having to work harder, over longer hours, to provide care for their communities. RCGP Scotland has previously shown how Scotland needs 856 extra full-time GPs by 2021.

The College has now launched a further survey to further explore the link between GP workload and wellbeing and to help identify possible solutions to the pressures GPs are under.

Responding to the statistics, RCGP Scotland chair, Dr Carey Lunan, said: “These findings are very worrying. The GP shortage has been putting GPs under increasing pressure to provide a safe and sustainable 24-hour service to ensure that all patients receive care as and when they need it.

“GPs working in daytime services have told me that they are now routinely working 12-13 hour days without taking time for breaks. It is clear from these findings that this pressure is taking its predictable toll on Scotland’s family doctors. That can only have negative knock-on effects for how able GPs are to provide for the health of our patients.

“Family doctors across Scotland want to provide compassionate care, and many GPs have repeatedly gone above and beyond for their patients when they needed it most. However, for GPs to continue providing high-quality care, we need to ensure that they are also able to look after their own wellbeing. In Mental Health Awareness Week, I am hopeful that GPs looking at and speaking out about their own health will encourage others to do the same. Many still feel there is a stigma to seeking help.

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“For the sake of the profession, for our patients, and for the future of the NHS as a whole, we need to ensure that GPs are valued, supported and empowered. That will encourage GPs to enter and remain in the profession and help ensure the future of Scottish general practice.

“Promoting GP wellbeing is a priority during my time as Chair of RCGP Scotland. This week, we have launched a survey to explore GP workload in more depth and see how it is affecting GPs across the country. We will be using these findings to help identify solutions to some of the challenges faced by general practice.

“I appreciate that time is any GP’s most precious resource but I would strongly encourage all GPs to complete this survey if at all possible.”

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