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Mental health an issue among doctors as workplace pressures mount

More than four fifths* (82%) of doctors feel under pressure because of recent changes to their profession, according to research by Wesleyan, the specialist financial mutual for doctors.

The results are revealed to coincide with World Mental Health Day on Tuesday, 10 October, which this year has the theme of mental health in the workplace. Wesleyan's research found increasing pressure was causing doctors to make personal sacrifices that could have a long-term impact on their mental wellbeing.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) have had to cancel annual leave because of work commitments, and 83% have cancelled social plans or missed family occasions. Two thirds claim to have worked more than 70 hours in a single week over the past year, while a further 81% of doctors have worked more than seven days in a row. Eight out of ten (84%) have also worked more than six hours in a shift without taking a break.

At the same time, a large number of doctors are suffering from mental health issues that are keeping them off work. A third** (36%) of all claims made to Wesleyan by doctors on their income protection policy in 2016 resulted from mental health issues - three times the number making claims due to the next most common cause, musculoskeletal problems (13%).

Despite this, nine out of 10 doctors say they would still choose to enter the profession if given the opportunity again.

Vicki Wentworth, Wesleyan's Chief Customer and Strategy Officer, said: "Doctors know as well as anyone how debilitating mental health problems can be and our research shows it is taking its toll.

"Mental health issues are now the main reason why doctors are claiming on our income protection policy, which shows the scale of the issue being faced by the NHS on both patient and employee sides.

"What is encouraging to see, however, is that despite the amount of pressure they're feeling, so many would still make the same career choice again. This suggests doctors' sense of their own purpose - a key ingredient of good mental wellbeing - is as strong as ever and is a true testament to the dedication shown by doctors to their patients."


* Research based on a survey of 200 hospital doctors and GPs by Censuswide on behalf of Wesleyan, June 2017.
** Income Protection claims from Wesleyan's own data for 2016.

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Wesleyan Assurance Society and Wesleyan Bank Ltd are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd, Wesleyan Unit Trust Managers Ltd, Practice Plan Ltd and DPAS Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  Advice about investments, insurance and mortgages is provided by Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd.

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