10 May 2018

Stressed GP regs ‘overworked, bullied’

Education General Practice Mental Health

Significant numbers of GP registrars are stressed over workplace bullying, threats and sour relationships – and most complain of overwork.

The General Practice Registrars Association says new national research on major causes of stress for GP registrars raises questions about poor practices and exploitation.

Unsurprisingly, nearly half of GP registrars surveyed said coping with study and exams was “very stressful”, the research found.

GPRA President Dr Melanie Smith said registrars needed good support and time for self-care while preparing for exams, to ensure they maintained high standards of patient care.

However, more than 15% felt stress from being bullied at work, almost 20% had met threats of violence, and more than 20% suffered stress from “difficult relations” in their training practice or with a GP supervisor.

“These are alarming signals that some general practice arrangements provided for new registrars are not situations of support and learning,” she said.

“Rather, they are situations of poor management and exploitation.

“The whole GP training environment needs a rigorous review, and genuine steps must be taken to address a large number of significant concerns for GP registrars.”

Dr Smith said the investigation should also look at why large numbers of GP registrars complained of overwork.

More than were stressed about having too much work to do, more than 40% were stressed by long work hours, and more than 30% were stressed by having to do unpaid work, she said.