Year: 2016 Source: Clinical Medicine.(2016).16(1):12-18.doi: 10.7861/clinmedicine.16-1-12 SIEC No: 20160084

High rates of psychological distress, depression and suicide have been reported among doctors. Furthermore, many doctors do not access healthcare by conventional means. This study aimed to increase understanding regarding non-consultant hospital doctorsÕ (NCHDsÕ) response to stress and barriers to accessing supports, and identify possible solutions. Medical manpower departments in 58 hospitals distributed a 25-item questionnaire to 4,074 NCHDs; we received 707 responses (response rate, 17.4%). 60% of NCHDs were unable to take time off work when unwell; Ôletting teammates downÕ (90.8%) and Ôdifficulty covering callÕ (85.9%) were the leading reasons. ÔBeing too busyÕ (85%), Ôself-prescriptionÕ (66.6%) and Ôself-managementÕ (53.1%) were ranked highest in deterring NCHDs from visiting a general practitioner (GP). 22.9% of NCHDs would not attend a GP with anxiety or depression until they began to feel hopeless, helpless or suicidal. 12.2% would not seek help at all. 55% of respondents (n = 330) had to move away from partners or dependants due to work, negatively affecting the social supports of 82.9%. Possible practical solutions were explored. NCHDS are a vulnerable population and have a particularly challenging lifestyle. Key recommendations include improved GP and counselling access for NCHDs, and addressing the culture of self-treatment and poor health behaviours through undergraduate and postgraduate education.

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