Physician Burnout - NHS wants you to turn your colleagues in

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

physician-burnout-nhs-gp-reporting-website_opt-150WIs this an appropriate response to physician burnout in GP's in the British NHS?

The National Health Service is a classic toxic work environment for GP's - with an administration that is singularly out to lunch.

The NHS could recognize the scope of the problem and the importance of GP health to the quality of the service they provide to the nation ... but no. As physician burnout runs rampant in practices and news headlines across the land ... they double down on blaming the victim.

Now the Doncaster Local Medical Committee (LMC) has installed a web page where GP's can report each other to the authorities for symptoms of burnout

Oh My God ... what a slippery slope.

Instead of staffing to meet demand and paying attention to workplace stress levels and the quality of life of your GP's, the powers that be are asking doctors to report colleagues for the symptoms of burnout.

These symptoms are a normal response to work overload and under staffing. Now you can be reported for them. 

And this system is just begging for someone to abuse it by using the web page to settle personal grievances. 


nhs-gp-burnout-reporting-website_opt250WFirst, a little background on burnout in NHS GP's

A 2015 survey shows 50% of NHS GP's are at high risk for burnout and yet the NHS is actually cutting funding for support services in Devon and Cornwall. 

This private survey showed 80% of GP practices have one or more GP's suffering from physician burnout.

The whole NHS is suffering from staffing shortages with even the BMA going to the press about physician burnout and its patient safety concerns.


Here is the announcement of the new Report-a-Struggling-Colleague Webpage

"Doncaster LMC has launched its ‘Concerned about a colleague’ reporting tool, an entirely confidential service which allows GPs or practice staff to highlight GPs who may be in need of pastoral support.

The service allows reporters to give details of their concerns, and they can highlight whether they wish to be contacted by the LMC should more detail be needed.

The page also directs to local and national support services and states: ‘NHS General Practice is under unprecedented pressure.  As such, we are all at risk of work related stress, burn out and depression.’

‘Often, the symptoms of these are insidious and can be more obvious to those around us than to ourselves.  So, if you have concerns about a colleague and feel that they need our support, we’d like to hear from you.’

Doncaster LMC medical secretary Dr Dean Eggitt, told Pulse: ‘If you recognise a colleague is struggling, whatever signs and symptoms you see, you let us know in confidence and we will take that information and try to provide support around that GP. This is the start of the process.’"



nhs-gp-burnout-new-reporting-website-doncaster_opt250wYeah ... Right ... forgive me, but I am more than just a little skeptical 

If this "service" turns out to be anything like the state based PHP's here in the USA, it will take the reported docs out of service, put them on probation, drive them to treatment ... all in an unsupervised fashion that does not have the GP's interests at heart.

PHP's are policing bodies charged with keeping our citizens out of the hands of "bad doctors". They do an OK job of that and a there is a lot of collateral damage to non-impaired physicians.

This NHS web page is not even for reporting addiction or other impairment

This is a BURNOUT reporting web page. You are asked to turn in a partner for a normal response to a toxic work environment.

My prediction is this will NOT end well. The people on the other end of the line will shoot first and ask questions later, always assuming the physician being reported is impaired.

What do you think?


What are your thoughts and feelings on these physician burnout reporting web sites  and where this will lead?

Tags: Physician Burnout