THE IRISH MEDICAL Council today launched a new doctor wellbeing campaign highlighting how important it is for doctors to care for themselves in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
A recent study shed light on doctor wellbeing in an Irish context during Covid-19 to date, and the ways in which doctors have been affected by the pandemic, both professionally and personally.
Findings from the Hospital Doctor Retention and Motivation Project found that in spite of many doctors reporting improvements to their physical wellbeing in the first wave of the pandemic, most doctors also experienced a decline in their mental wellbeing due to anxiety, emotional exhaustion, guilt, isolation and poor support.
This new medical council project is designed to remind medics to remember to take care of their physical and mental health.
Medical Council President, Dr Rita Doyle, described how the mix of the pandemic, the recent HSE cyber attack and the pre-existing pressures on doctors has put huge pressure on medic across the country.
She said: “There isn’t a single person in Ireland whose life hasn’t been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic over the last 15 months in some way. This also applies to doctors.
“As we know from the research, doctor wellbeing and burnout has been an issue in Ireland long before the pandemic and we also know that this can lead to adverse events for patients.”
“The cyber-attack was the last thing the Irish health service needed. As the health service is trying to return services after the pandemic, the cyber-attack struck. Some doctors have described this as having a far greater negative impact than the pandemic on patient care and their wellbeing.”
Dr Doyle added that one important step doctors can take to support their wellbeing is to ensure they are registered with a GP and seek the support of their GP when needed.
Incoming President of the Medical Council, Dr Suzanne Crowe urged any doctor who is struggling to seek support and not suffer in silence.
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“The simple things, the actions we advise our patients to do, can make such a huge difference such as getting enough sleep, eating healthily, exercising and making time for friends and families,” Dr Crowe said.
Leo Kearns, Medical Council CEO, said doctor wellbeing is a patient safety issue and an area of great importance for the medical council.
“The wellbeing guide, featuring practical tips and advice, in addition to the doctors around the country who are taking part in the campaign sharing their top wellbeing tips in the videos are all sharing the important message for doctors of the importance of looking after themselves, both physically and mentally,” said Mr Kearns.