Looking After Your Clinicians

A shocking survey published today reports that one third of UK doctors suffer from workplace burnout. Burnout is a condition brought on by long-term stress and an over load of work within a fast-paced environment. A report published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has revealed that 43% of trainee clinicians sadly meet the criteria for burnout. As a practice manager you are obligated to support your staff and ensure clinics run smoothly; the Medical Protection Society has stated that “Practice managers must ensure GPs ‘look after themselves’ “in a recent report. We look into how practices can ensure the health of their clinicians is paramount and what you can put into place to safeguard healthcare professionals.


Are you well?

A new survey revealed 72% of UK doctors attend work even when they do not feel well themselves. Presenteeism is the act of attending work when you are unwell, fatigued or stressed leading to you not giving your best performance or even spreading illness to patients. In the NHS, it is becoming a growing cause for concern with many healthcare professionals putting their patients at risk by attending clinic while suffering ill-health.  Although healthcare professionals often advise patients to not attend work while in poor health, unfortunately they don’t always follow their own advice. 46% of GPs have stated that they feel guilty taking time off work, although only 12% say their employers make them feel guilty; it seems GPs feel obligated to attend work no matter their current health status.


What causes clinicians presenteeism?

The NHS is extremely understaffed, underfunded and under-resourced. Many healthcare professionals are leaving the profession and universities report a shocking fall in the number of students enrolling on medical based courses. The pressure on the NHS is felt directly by healthcare professionals, who feel they must attend clinics due to the current staffing crisis. Relentless work, challenging clinics and out of hours care mean that clinicians feel the pressure more than ever. It seems clinicians feel that the long hours, exhaustion and lack of breaks just simply come with the job. This couldn’t be further from what most practice managers believe. How can you ensure your healthcare professionals take care of themselves and in doing so, their patients as well?


Give yourself a break

Three quarters of healthcare professionals have admitted to not having a break during their days in practice. It is vital staff ensure work-life balance is improved in order to reduce pressure and stress felt within the clinic. Ensuring you run rotas with the clinicians in mind is vital. Placing a break within a four-hour session could be the difference between an efficient GP and an absent clinician.


Healthcare professionals suffering from burnout are often lacking in personal connection, empathy and personal accomplishment. These are all attributes required in order to be a successful GP.
Promote a culture within surgery in which healthcare professionals know the importance of taking a break away from clinics and if possible, make this mandatory.


Spot the signs

Spotting clinician burnout before it starts to affect your practice will ensure clinics run smoothly. Checking in with your healthcare professionals will help you spot the signs and symptoms of burnout and ensure that you let your clinicians know when they should put their health in the spotlight.


Signs of burnout include:


-Loss of concentration

-Loss of enthusiasm


-Low mood


-Feelings of guilt and failure


Assess the job load

Taking a look at GP workload is essential to understanding the everyday stresses clinicians face. It is reported that GPs generally spend 45% of the day on patient consultations, 45% on administration and 10% improving care within the practice. Recent advice from medical boards have suggested the implementation of voice recorders to assist GPs with the 45% administration workload, could save a GP time and relieve administration stresses. Cutting down the time taken for administration will allow GPs to take a break without feeling guilty.


Arm your clinic

As GP burnout is an ongoing cause of NHS staffing strains, reduced GP numbers and presenteeism, it is time to look into making sure your clinics are fully equipped with staff cover. Using a locum recruitment agency has been what many practices turn to, especially over the pressure periods. Locum healthcare professionals reduce stress placed on clinics, support salaried staff and promote the trouble-free running of clinics. Placing locums within your practice may encourage salaried members of staff suffering from ill-health and burnout to take a day out and recover to ensure patient care and safety.


If you are considering looking into the implementation of locum staffing solutions, we are happy to help. With AppLocum the staffing crisis can be resolved. We can battle clinician presenteeism and support your practice by providing high quality, government body registered healthcare professionals; no matter how short notice! Contact our friendly consultants and get to know how AppLocum can be the answer for you.

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