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Nine in 10 Irish doctors have suffered mental health issues during pandemic, survey reveals

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Nine in 10 doctors reported having experienced depression, anxiety or other mental health issues since the Coronavirus pandemic began.

Nine in 10 doctors reported having experienced depression, anxiety or other mental health issues since the Coronavirus pandemic began.

Nine in 10 doctors reported having experienced depression, anxiety or other mental health issues since the Coronavirus pandemic began.

The hidden toll on Irish doctors who have been under relentlesss pressure during the pandemic is revealed in a new survey today showing nine in ten have suffered some form of depression, anxiety, stress, emotional stress or other mental health condition.

More than a third have not been able to take leave since the pandemic .

The survey, revealed at the annual meeting of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) said said the distress was linked to or made worse due to their work.

It showed that nearly eight in ten said their mental health deteriorated during the pandemic.

IMO chief executive Susan Clyne said the findings were quite shockding.

The findings showed that seven out of ten doctors are at high risk of burnout.

The greatest risk of this is among with public health doctors who are key to containing the spread of the virus and controlling outbreaks .Junior doctors are also vulnerable to burn out.

More than one in two doctors have not been able to take their scheduled breaks to eat or drink during their working day.

More than a third have not been able to take leave since the pandemic .

Some 66pc experienced difficulties getting childcare.

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A combination of factors are adding to the stress including staffing shortages already in place before the pandemic ,people having to take time out due to Covid illness and requirements to self-isolate.

They also highlighted the growing backlog of waiting patients; and the impact on personal health and wellbeing.

Most believe there is a stigma around mental health leaving many doctors loathe to see professional support.

They tend to confide in friends and family or struggle on their own.

Four in ten doctors do not have their own GP. More than six in ten do not feel properly supported by the HSE.

The majority of respondents believe there is a perceived stigma around mental health issues and few doctors seek help from support services but instead confide in family or friends or attempt to deal with issues alone. Forty per cent of doctors do not have their own GP, while 64 per cent do not feel adequately supported by the HSE.

The report said: “While absenteeism, redeployment and new ways of working pandemic have no doubt compounded issues of stress and burnout in the workforce it is clear that long standing issues in relation to staff shortages, long working hours and excessive workload, difficulties getting locum cover, are the major factors contributing to poor mental health and well-being among the medical workforce.

“While actions are needed to address stigma, encourage help seeking and promote self-care, we urgently need to address the current man power crisis facing the Irish healthcare system which has put enormous pressure on our doctors and largely accounts for the high levels of burnout and stress seen in this survey.”


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