A doctor is so attuned to the care of his patients that he loses his own health or rather fails to take care of himself while doing so. A recent study has reported poor mental health and burnout among hospital consultants in the UK, supporting the above-mentioned statement.
Over 800 consultants were surveyed and a 27% prevalence of poor mental health was found among the respondents who belonged to gastroenterology, radiology, surgical oncology, clinical oncology, and medical oncology specialties. There was also a considerable increase in the percentage of consultants with psychiatric illness and burnout.
The survey revealed that an increase in job stress, unmatched by a comparable increase in job satisfaction accounted for the deterioration in mental health. Clinical oncologists had the greatest increase in the prevalence of poor mental health and burnout compared with the other specialties.
In response to the above finding, Cath Taylor concludes: "There seems to be several underlying reasons for this worrying development. It appears in part due to increased stress from being poorly resourced and having responsibility for the quality of the work of other staff, together with trying to meet the expectations of relatives. On top of this, these consultants have an enormous workload coupled with insufficient levels of satisfaction from some areas of their work".
Hence approaches designed to reduce consultants' workload and enhance their job satisfaction are urgently needed.