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Increase in doctors with stress and burnout

By David Lynch - 19th May 2022

The number of healthcare professionals presenting with stress, anxiety, and burnout has increased by more than one third.

That is according to the Practitioner Health Matters Programme (PHMP) Annual Report 2021.

The new report finds:

– 36 per cent year-on-year increase in new presentations

– A more than doubling of presentations since 2015

– 106 new presentations to PHMP in 2021 – increased from 78 in 2020

– Issues relating to anxiety, depression, substance use, and burnout feature predominantly in those presenting

– 83 per cent of those presenting are doctors

– Three out of four new presentations aged between 26-49 years

– 57 per cent of new pesentations are female

– Since the service began in 2015 it has supported 454 patients with circa 2,000 consultations

“Practitioners are no different than the general public when they are faced with a mental health or substance use problem,” said Dr Íde Delargy, Medical Director PHMP.

But she said they can “often find it difficult to access confidential assistance”.

“The pandemic has undoubtedly pushed many practitioners to near breaking point.”

Dr Delargy added that with the right support and intervention, “there are positive outcomes for the majority of individuals.”

She said healthcare professionals rarely present with a single issue but rather a wide range of conditions and concerns.

The PHMP continue to support 79 practitioners while they continue to work. 19 practitioners who have returned to work after a period of time off. It also suppports 8 practitioners who are no longer working but continue to attend.

“This year we recorded the biggest increase in new presentations since the PHMP service began,” Dr Delargy said.

She stated this can be attributed in part to the continued impact of Covid-19 on our healthcare system.

“We are seeing more and more clinicians attending the PHMP service with symptoms associated with burnout, anxiety, and depression.

“Many of these symptoms are leading individuals to misuse substances, whether alcohol, drugs, or both.

“Others talk about having reached a breaking point …in the most severe cases, some admitted to suicidal thoughts.

“Happily, however, with the right support and intervention, there can be positive outcomes.

“Of those we have treated, 92 per cent have continued working when sufficiently recovered.”

For more information, see

See also ‘Covid-19: When doctors need support’

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