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Burned out and depressed: Report gives snapshot of how Canada's doctors are doing

Last Updated Oct 4, 2019 at 11:05 am PDT

(Source: iStock)

Many of Canada's doctors are apparently feeling burned out or depressed, a new report has found

According to the CMA, inefficient hospitals, clinics are in part to blame for doctor stress

New data shows about one-in-five doctors say they've gone into work while feeling sick or distressed

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – They’ll tell you to not go into work when you’re sick, but it looks like many Canadian doctors are not taking their own advice.

New data shows about a third of doctors report feeling burned out with half of doctors surveyed saying they’ve gone into work in the last year while feeling sick — one-in-five said they went into work five or more times while feeling sick or “distressed.”

“We will go into work even when we’re sick not because we want to make others sick but there may be nobody else who can look after your patients that day,” says Dr. Gigi Osler with the Canadian Medical Association, which compiled the data.

“You feel a sense of responsibility because, you know, people have been waiting for their appointment or their surgery, they booked off time, they’ve arranged child care.”

Doctors report being overworked, with many saying they work an average 48 hours a week, plus about 110 hours every month on-call. More than half are also not happy with the efficiency and resources in their workplace and 40 per cent are dissatisfied with their work-life balance.

“Long work hours, excessive paper work, electronic medical records, so electronic charting, that are all taking physicians away from direct face-to-face time with your patient and patient care,” adds Osler.

It’s also contributing to doctors neglecting their own health. Almost half report not leading a sufficiently active lifestyle and 1 in 5 say they don’t have a doctor themselves.

The Canadian Medical Association says the data shows it’s time for coordinated efforts to support doctors, as well as their health and wellness.

“This data confirms the shift that is already taking place, to not only consider what individuals can do on their own to improve their wellness, but to also consider the system-level factors that need to change.” Dr. Caroline Gérin-Lajoie, vice-president of physician health and wellness, says of report findings.

The CMA is calling on all levels of government, healthcare employers, and other stakeholders to work with doctors to improve conditions.

“We’re doing our part here, as doctors and CMA, to keep doctors healthy to look after patients and what we want to see, and I think what we need to see, is our health authorities, provincial governments, and our federal government stepping up to fix our ailing health care system,” adds Osler.

Read the full report:

NPHS_Report_ENG_Final - Connecting behaviours and occupational stressors to psychological outcomes