Research published by Professor Damien Ridge and Professor David Peters from the University of Westminster on the increasing pressures GPs face in the workplace, was one of the top two most popular articles from 2017 in the British Journal of General Practice.

The research titled “Influences on GP coping and resilience: a qualitative study in primary care” focuses on exploring the experiences of GPs within the workplace and their coping strategies for the challenges and stresses it brings. This followed increasing reports on the burnout rate of GPs leading to a shortage of GPs.

Professor Damien Ridge, Professor of Health Studies and Head of Psychology said: “At a time when GPs need more support than ever, NHS reforms and changes have actually intensified GP work, increasingly cutting them off from their colleagues, patients and loved ones, and this is not without risk. Our work sheds light on how specifically GPs are over-stretched, and what is contributing to their burn-out, and clues to improving the work-environments of GPs.”

Results found that changes within the workplace resulted in little or no time for promoting or improving GP resilience, considering a work-life balance and colleague interaction. They found that there was a moral implication involved which led to stresses as GPs wanted to supply ‘good’ doctoring to each patient. Reporting that the job was too stressful which would affect their mental health and home life. The research concluded with the need for GP support to include systematic work issues alongside individual help.

Professor David Peters, Director of the Westminster Centre for Resilience, said: “Many GPs are using resilience building techniques to mitigate their work stress including mindfulness, yoga and exercise which is encouraging. However, part of the problem can only be solved by the NHS itself. And yet current proposals to move to a seven-day GP service have created further anxieties for GPs.”

The British Journal of General Practice is an international journal publishing research, debate and analysis, and clinical guidance for practitioners and primary care researchers. The BJGP was founded in 1953 as the ‘College of General Practitioners’ Research Newsletter’ and now publishes eight to ten research articles a month.

The research was carried out using focus groups and one-to-one interviews.

Find the full research article in the British Journal of General Practice. 

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