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The PHMP was officially launched in September 2015. The independently-run initiative is open to doctors, dentists, and pharmacists and has been designed to reflect international best practice in practitioner health.
Dr Ide Delargy, Clinical Director, said that upwards of 35 practitioners across disciplines have presented to the service, mainly doctors. Of the medical professionals presenting, the main grouping are trainees.
“We are having a steady flow of people referred to the Programme, mostly self-referrals, so I think the word is getting out there,” she told MI.
Dr Delargy said the “main group of people we are seeing are trainees – they are young doctors mostly in training”.
There have also been a number of GPs, consultants, medical students, and other practitioners engaged with the Programme.
Trainees are under particular pressures connected to their working environments and life stage, she noted.
“It is a time in their lives when they are thinking on maybe getting married, having children, buying houses – it is a time when all of those additional pressures are on them as well as the pressures to progress through their career.
“So I think there is a recognition that it is a particularly stressful time in their lives and if anybody has underlying vulnerability – be that of a mental health nature – when you put on these additional stressors, then sometimes it can be enough to tip them into difficulties and they need some help and support in terms of how they might cope with those.”
The service’s first annual report is due for publication in early 2017 and will include broad information on the numbers presenting.
Meanwhile, Dr Blanaid Hayes, Dean-Elect of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, RCPI, has said emerging data on the health and wellbeing of hospital doctors in Ireland is concerning.
Dr Hayes is leading a research project examining this area. The second stage of the research will centre on results from a national, randomised, cross-sectional questionnaire study carried out in 2014 and capturing prevalence of stress, depression, anxiety, and burnout.
“It is drawing a picture that I think is a source of grave concern,” Dr Hayes told MI.