Burnout, resilience and culture change
There seems little doubt that ‘burnout’ is currently afflicting many clinicians, who feel undervalued by a government that has restricted pay increases to 1% for the past 5 years, and overstretched as they struggle to cover rota gaps and deal with ever-increasing patient demand. The manner in which the junior doctors’ contract was imposed was also harmful. The GMC has recommended ‘resilience training’ as a remedy for some of these issues; however, it is hard to be resilient if you are already demoralised. It could be argued that a significant pay rise this autumn might provide a more positive boost to morale.
A radical culture change in the way the NHS deals with its younger clinicians may be even more beneficial. Isn’t the term ‘junior doctor’ in itself somewhat demeaning? Perhaps the traditional ‘firm’ structures, which encouraged teamwork and mutual support, should be restored to replace the current transient and peripatetic rotations that do so little to foster loyalty. Increased support for trainers, training and enhanced study leave, as well as reintroducing the doctors’ mess, might also have an uplifting effect on doctors’ morale.
What are your views? How can we prevent burnout which seems to be resulting in more older doctors taking early retirement, and many younger ones leaving the profession for good?