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Many Canadian doctors feeling more tired, anxious due to COVID-19

Last Updated Mar 10, 2021 at 3:50 pm PDT

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Summary

CMA says while many physicians are feeling more anxious and fatigued, few are seeking help

69 per cent of practicing physicians surveyed say they've felt an increase in fatigue over the past year: CMA

Chief factors impacting physicians' mental health include longer restrictions, uncertain future, vaccine rollout

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, a majority of doctors polled are dealing with high levels of fatigue and anxiety.

According to the Canadian Medical Association, 69 per cent of practicing physicians surveyed say they’ve felt an increase in fatigue over the past year, with 65 per cent experiencing pandemic-related anxiety.

“Like all health care professionals, physicians are feeling the stress of the last 365 days,” said CMA President Dr. Ann Collins, adding that while doctors are suffering, few of them are actually getting help.

“Suffering in silence is so detrimental; we have more work to do to break down the barriers preventing physicians and other health care workers from seeking support when they need it,” Collins added.

Thursday marks one year since the World Health Organization labelled COVID-19 a global pandemic. Monday also marked the anniversary of the first coronavirus-related death in Canada.

Chief factors impacting physicians’ mental health include longer social restrictions, continued uncertainty about the future, and the ongoing vaccine rollout.

The CMA says 62 per cent of respondents feel concerns about vaccine programs are contributing negatively to their mental health, with more than 50 per cent giving current distribution efforts poor marks.

Vaccine supply was the biggest concern related to the shots, followed by the priority listing of distribution and physicians’ roles in rollout and delivery.

“The vaccine rollout is the light at the end of the tunnel for Canadians, including doctors, whose mental health has been battered by this pandemic,” added Collins. “Despite the heroic efforts and guidance from our public health colleagues and health workers, we’re off to a rocky start with the rollout — not getting this right is not an option.”