Leading Professor says burnout is on rise

A leading Professor will say that burnout is on the rise, with doctors at the beginning of their careers now asking for help.

Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, Professor of Medicine and Education at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry and founder non-executive director of the Natioanl Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) will say at Medicine24, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow flagship conference, that while doctors don’t like to say that they can’t cope, incidents of anxiety, depression and burnout are all on the rise.

Professor Dame Kumar will say “Doctors are human. Today 60% of doctors seeking the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund’s support are under the age of 40. That is far younger than ever before in the charity’s 180 year long history. Younger doctors have not yet had the time to build up a financial safety net for when things go wrong and, like doctors at any age, can often be reticent to ask for help.

“Doctors should seek support and seek support sooner. Admitting you need help is NOT a ‘failure’. Levels of anxiety, fatigue, depression, burnout within the profession are high and yet 75% of doctors still feel that there is stigma within the profession for seeking help for mental health issues (RMBF Together for Doctors survey, 2017). Whether it is stress, work pressure, financial pressure or the loss of a loved one, there are a range of support organisations and initiatives in place that can offer help. Early assistance can often be the most effective.

She also encouraged Doctors to support one another.

“There are improvements that we need to strive for within NHS working environment, but there is also a lot of power in looking out for one another to help ease pressure and feel happier at work. Get to know your colleagues, keep an eye on them and ask how they are doing. Doctors don’t like to say that they cannot cope – and then suddenly ‘crash’. Encourage your colleagues to seek support when they need it, and trust that they would do the same for you. We are much more resilient when we are happier at work.”

Her lecture, Caring for the Profession at the flagship conference, Medicine24 will take place at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow on 13/14 September 2018.

Dr Jackie Taylor, President Elect of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow said “Medicine24 is an excellent opportunity for those working in increasingly stressful environments to reflect on practise and consider how we support each other. As Professor Kumar will highlight, burnout is an important issue which needs to be addressed, especially as it affects a growing number of our younger colleagues.

“Medicine24 covers a range of issues faced by the NHS today, and we hope it will provide those attending with state of the art education and plenty of time to reflect and network with others.”

This two day conference provides up to date information on the optimal management of acutely ill patients within the first 24 hours of admission. Now in its fourth year, Medicine24 2018 will cover the most common situations that present in busy receiving wards, and include updates in a range of medical specialties. The 2018 conference will also introduce a new ‘masterclass’ session. This series of workshops offer an interactive experience, learning directly from the experts.