Survey of nearly 20,000 finds Spanish and Portuguese doctors are the most burned out
UK doctors more likely to consider abandoning medicine
NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Burnout and depression are having a significant effect on the global medical community, as demonstrated by Medscape's Global Physicians' Burnout and Lifestyle Comparisons report, released today. Nearly 20,000 doctors in six countries (France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, United States and United Kingdom) responded to the survey, with results revealing that more than one in three (37%) feels burned out and one in ten (10%) experiences both burn out and depression.*
Physicians from Portugal and Spain reported considerably higher levels of burnout than their counterparts in other countries, (47% and 43% respectively), whereas those in the UK, the US and France reported levels of 32%, 40% and 42% respectively. By contrast, German doctors were the least burned out, at 21%. Regarding depression, however, nearly one in four German physicians reported being depressed, followed by French physicians, with only 6% reporting depression.
Most physicians report that it is unhappiness with work that is the key factor for burnout and depression; the majority in most countries reporting they are "extremely happy" with their personal lives, ranging from 65% of physicians in Spain to 50% in Portugal. Physicians in France were the exception, with only one-third reporting happiness with their personal lives.
The UK doctor community appeared to feel the effects of burnout most acutely, with a quarter (25%) saying the impact was so severe they were thinking of abandoning medicine altogether. Spanish doctors indicated the lowest impact, with one in four (27%) saying that burnout did not interfere with their lives and only 9% saying they were considering leaving the profession.
For more findings, view the full report on Medscape: https://www.medscape.com/2019-global-burnout
Reasons for Burnout
Common themes driving burnout were excessive bureaucratic tasks (response rates ranged from 47% in the UK and Spain to 56% in the US and Portugal), spending too many hours at work (rates ranged from 26% in Spain to 51% in Portugal) and a lack of respect from administrators and employers (rates ranged from 25% in the US to 40% in Portugal). Frustrations with local healthcare systems also emerged: UK doctors reported government regulations and a lack of autonomy (25%, respectively) as key influences in burnout, and Spanish doctors thought insufficient compensation was an important factor (56%).
The majority of doctors said they had not sought professional help for burnout and/or depression (58%), with reasons ranging from symptoms not being severe enough (46%), being too busy to address them (33%) or thinking they could manage the situation without professional help (38%).
In addition to examining the underlying professional causes of burnout and depression, the report also looked into doctors' lifestyles. Despite dispensing lifestyle advice to patients, doctors admitted to exercising infrequently, with only 2%-11% exercising daily. One in five (21%) in France and a quarter (24%) in Portugal confessed to not exercising at all.
"Medscape's first global comparison report on doctor burnout and depression shows that far too many are experiencing burnout, predominantly from excessive bureaucracy," said Veronique Duqueroy, Editorial Director of Medscape Global and co-author of the report. "Most doctors have no help in the workplace, and in some cases, are thinking of leaving medicine as the only solution. Clearly, our report shows that there is much to be done to improve the working conditions of doctors, regardless of where they practice, to the benefit of doctors and their patients."
*Unless stated that a statistic relates to a certain country, percentages have been averaged across all six countries of respondents. Where a range is provided, this reflects the span of response rates across all six countries.
About the Global Physicians' Burnout and Lifestyle Comparisons
The survey was conducted online by Medscape; there were approximately 20,000 respondents from six countries (France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, United States and United Kingdom). Doctors took part in a 10 minute online survey; European data were collected from April 25 to June 19, 2018, and US data were collected from July 19 to October 2, 2017.
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