Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.
 We show conclusively that the provision of safe, high quality patient care is severely compromised when doctors are physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted.
- Maria Panagioti

Burnout in doctors has devastating consequences on the quality of care they deliver, according to a large scale systematic review and meta-analysis.

The study, by experts at the Universities of Manchester, Keele, Leeds, Birmingham and Westminster, looks at 47 papers which together analyse the responses of 43,000 doctors.

This NIHR School for Primary Care Research and NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre funded study is published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. 

It finds that doctors with burnout are twice as likely to make mistakes, such as incorrect diagnoses or wrong prescriptions.  Preventable harmful medical errors occur in 1 in 20 patients according to a recent GMC report.

Burnout also doubles the likelihood of lower professional standards, such as not following NICE guidelines or malpractice.

And burnout, argues Dr Maria Panagioti from The University of Manchester, who led the study, may be impacting on dropping patient satisfaction.

The study found that patient satisfaction is three times more likely to be lower when doctors are physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted – core signs by which experts identify burnout.

Though it has been traditionally considered high, public satisfaction with NHS has dropped from 63% in 2016 to 57% in 2017 – a drop of 6 percentage points.

Another worrying finding of the study is that in junior doctors in particular, burnout increases the likelihood of lower professional standards by 3.5 times. A recent General Medical Council  survey of 52,000 UK trainee doctors which found than one in for trainees feel burnt out.

 Full press release from University of Manchester: Burnout in doctors has shocking impact on care, review finds

 Authors: Maria Panagioti, Keith Geraghty, Judith Johnson, Anli Zhou, Efharis Panagopoulou, Carolyn Chew-Graham, David Peters, Alexander Hodkinson, Ruth Riley, Aneez Esmail


Q&A by


Media attention: