Nearly 90 per cent of GP surgery staff struggling with stress, charity warns

A leading mental health charity has expressed concern over the "worrying" levels of stress seen among people who work in GP surgeries.

Almost nine in 10 family doctors, practice nurses and reception staff find their work life stressful - leading to 43% considering resigning, according to a survey by the charity Mind.

And one in 10 said workplace stress has led to suicidal thoughts.

The poll of 1,000 practice staff across the UK found that many thought work is the most stressful area of their lives, ahead of their finances, health, family life and relationships.

"Everyone has mental health that needs looking after and this is just as true for GPs, nurses and their colleagues in primary care," said Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind.

"These figures paint a worrying picture, suggesting that levels of stress among primary care staff are having a real impact on both their mental and physical well-being.

"We need to make sure that health care professionals are well and supported, so they can provide the best care for their patients."

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the GP committee at the British Medical Association, added: "This poll reinforces the BMA findings that GPs and their staff are under unsustainable pressure because they are having to work long, intense hours on dwindling resources against a backdrop of rocketing patient demand.

"As this Mind survey demonstrates, the inevitable side effect is rising levels of burnout and stress."

Dr Maureen Baker, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, said: "The current state of general practice is pushing GPs to their limit, and these results show it is having a serious impact on their physical and mental health. It goes without saying that a service that relies on sick and fatigued GPs is not good for patient safety."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "NHS staff do a fantastic job and we know GPs and their colleagues are under pressure as our population ages and more people live with long-term conditions. To help support them, the NHS is specifically committing £16 million for GPs suffering from burnout and stress."

The spokesman said the fund was just for GPs rather than for surgery staff.

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