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Ruth Riley (Bristol) and Marta Buszewicz (UCL) presented the results of a School funded study at a workshop for GP tutors who teach UCL Medical School undergraduates on 17 March.

Ruth riley

The study explored the barriers and facilitators to help-seeking by GPs with mental health problems. Principal Investigator on the study Ruth and co-applicant and academic GP Marta invited attendees to respond to the findings of their research, and discuss the implications for policy and practice. Those attending, all practising GPs, were surprised and shocked by the level of mental distress, isolation and lack of support experienced by the study participants.

After discussion, the main implications for policy and practice identified included:

  • To increase patient awareness of the pressures/constraints facing GPs
  • To make it easier to recruit locums at short notice to cover for GPs when unwell
  • To reduce GP workload by recruiting more nurse practitioners to manage minor illness and encourage patients to manage self-limiting illnesses where possible
  • To engender a culture of effective support for colleagues and impart the importance of being open and honest at practice meetings, and coffee breaks.
GP tutors at the workshop said they would look out for signs of mental distress in their colleagues and try to be supportive of each other."

Read more about the research and outputsDoctors as patients - a qualitative study to explore the barries and facilitators to help - seeking by General Practitioners with mental health problems: improving access to care.

Marta has written a blog 'Doctors as Patients'