With Covid rates rising and second lockdown planned, Medscape UK survey finds a 68% increase in burnout among doctors

With Covid rates rising and second lockdown planned, Medscape UK survey finds a 68% increase in burnout among doctors

PR Newswire

LONDON, Nov. 2, 2020

- Report also finds number of doctors experiencing depression and burnout has almost tripled;

- More than half of all UK Millennial doctors would consider leaving medicine for a different career

LONDON, Nov. 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As regions across the UK experience rising rates of Covid-19 and the government issues another national lockdown starting Thursday to alleviate pressure on the NHS, a new Medscape report finds that the number of UK doctors reporting burnout has increased by more than two-thirds since 2018, and many doctors now say they are considering changing careers or retiring early.

The Medscape UK Doctors' Burnout and Lifestyle Survey 2020 features responses from doctors in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Doctors across specialities were included in the survey, with the majority working in the NHS (86%), 3% in the private sector only, and 11% in both. The report looks at how different generations of doctors have been affected during the pandemic and lockdown:

  1. Millennials (aged between 24-39)
  2. Generation X (aged between 40-55)
  3. Baby boomers (aged between 56-74)

The survey was conducted from 29 May to 24 August. The report underscores the growing issue of burnout and depression in medicine, with over two-thirds of UK doctors saying their burnout has intensified during the coronavirus pandemic. Lack of respect, too much bureaucracy and too many hours at work were rated as the top three contributors to UK doctors' burnout.

Click here for full report:  medscape.com/uk-burnout-report-2020

Overall levels of burnout increased by 68% from a previous Medscape survey in 2018 (from 22% to 37%), with this year's report finding that Generation X were the most burned out (42%), closely followed by Millennials (41%) and Baby Boomers (30%). More than one in four doctors said that burnout has a severe impact on their lives.

Two-thirds of doctors describe themselves as feeling sad or blue, with nearly one-third of Millennial doctors (32%) saying they have clinical depression. Although 46% said that their depression does not affect their interactions with patients, more than one in four said they are less engaged (actively listening and responding to patients) and more exasperated. Almost 7 in 10 UK doctors did not find that 'clap for carers' boosted morale.

When considering actions to reduce burnout, early retirement was the most common answer selected – more likely to be considered by male doctors (57%) than female (39%), and most commonly by older Baby Boomers. Among Millennial doctors, 53% said they would consider leaving medicine for a different career, and 40% said they would look for a different job in medicine.

The report found that 54% would advocate for COVID-19 overtime or danger pay. Millennial doctors were the generation most in favour of extra COVID-19 pay (71%), compared to 57% for Generation X and 45% for the Baby Boomers.

When a question around pay cuts was put to doctors, 88% of Millennial doctors said they would sacrifice £10,000 or less for a 20% reduction in weekly working hours. GPs were more likely than specialists to give up £10,000 or less (81% vs 73%). The report also revealed that 70% of doctors are aware of workplace programmes for stress/burnout but only 12% had used them.

Dr. Rob Hicks, GP, Medscape UK contributor and survey co-author, said "The coronavirus pandemic has put our healthcare services and healthcare professionals under extraordinary pressure. The second wave of coronavirus continues to exacerbate that pressure and will be taking its toll on doctors amidst the backdrop of resource shortages, and delayed and disrupted diagnosis and treatments. Doctors are dedicated professionals but still human, which reinforces that the support for medical professionals needs to be addressed on individual needs and circumstances."

For more findings, view the full report on Medscape: medscape.com/uk-burnout-report-2020

Report Methodology

Doctors were invited to participate in a 10-minute online survey about lifestyle and professional burnout. Respondents were required to be practising UK doctors. 1082 doctors completed the survey. An additional 201 doctors who are not currently practising answered two questions regarding their employment situation. Data collection period – 29 May – 24 August 2020. The margin of error for the survey was a 95% confidence level using a point estimate of 50% was +/-2.79%.

About Medscape

Medscape is the leading source of clinical news, health information, and point-of-care tools for health care professionals. Medscape offers specialists, primary care doctors, and other health professionals the most robust and integrated medical information and educational tools. Medscape Education (medscape.org) is the leading destination for continuous professional development, consisting of more than 30 specialty-focused destinations offering thousands of free C.M.E. and C.E. courses and other educational programs for doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals. Medscape is a subsidiary of WebMD Health Corp.

For more information or to connect with Medscape medical experts, contact:

Patricia Garrison

Sarah Lagan
Health Unlimited


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