In a ComRes survey commissioned by the Royal College of General Practitioners Northern Ireland (RCGPNI), more than one-in-four of NI GPs (26 per cent) say they are so stressed they feel they can’t cope at least once a week.
RCGPNI 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.
The college has now launched a further survey to explore in more detail the link between GP workload and wellbeing and to help identify possible solutions to the pressures GPs are under.
Responding to the statistics, RCGPNI Chair, Dr Grainne Doran, said, ‘These findings are very concerning – but not surprising for those of us who are currently working in general practice. Due to the GP workforce shortage, family doctors are working under extremely challenging conditions to ensure that all patients receive care when they need it.
‘It is clear that this pressure is taking its toll on family doctors across the region.
‘GPs across Northern Ireland want to provide compassionate care, and many GPs repeatedly go above and beyond for their patients when they need it most. However, for
GPs to continue providing this level of care, we need to ensure they are also able to look after their own wellbeing.
‘For the sake of the profession, for our patients, and for the future of our health and social care services, we need to ensure that GPs are valued, supported and empowered.
That will encourage GPs to enter and remain in the profession and help secure the future of general practice in Northern Ireland.
‘GPs have told us that tackling rising workload is a priority for them and as RCGPNI Chair, I want to do all I can to promote GP wellbeing. This week, we have launched a survey to explore GP workload and wellbeing in more depth and see how it is affecting GPs across the region. We will be using these findings to help identify solutions to some of the challenges faced by general practice.’