Author: Laura Donnelly
One in seven GPs is turning to drink or drugs to help them “deal with work pressures” a new survey suggests. The poll of family doctors found almost half said their ability to care for patients had been affected by the stress of their job.
GPs said they were downing bottles of wine, taking painkillers to sleep and anti-depressants in response to pressures of work.
One said their reaction to a suicidal patient had been resentment.
The survey of more than 800 GPs by Pulse magazine found around 11 per cent had turned to alcohol, and 6 per cent to prescription drugs in response to work pressures.
In total, 15 per cent turned to one or the other, in response to stress, the poll found.
One GP – who wished to remain anonymous – said: "I drink a bottle of wine most evenings after work, and often take codeine to help me sleep. I’m also on long-term antidepressants, as are a lot of my colleagues."
Other respondents said they had bought sleeping medication abroad, while others said they would be unable to work without antidepressants.
GPs said overwork had left them with “compassion fatigue” and left them “taking more shortcuts” in patient care.
Other family doctors referred to “getting irritated with patients when it is not their fault”.
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