The Royal College of GPs Cymru Wales has called for a comprehensive support package for GPs and their general practice colleagues after a survey revealed that as many as 80% of respondents felt that their wellbeing had been adversely affected by the pandemic.
RCGP Cymru Wales Joint-Chair Dr Mair Hopkin said:
“Along with colleagues across the health service, GPs have been heroic in their response to the pandemic. Today, they are at the forefront of the vaccination programme and throughout the last year they have been helping patients in a very challenging environment. It is in their nature to be selfless and focused on the patient. Regrettably that can take its toll on the mental health and wellbeing of GPs and their practice teams.”
The survey which was sent to GPs across Wales by the College revealed that 65% had sought support from a colleague in regard to their own wellbeing, 39% had self-treated themselves for the effects of the pandemic on their mental health and 26% were making use of wellbeing apps.
RCGP Cymru Wales Joint-Chair Professor Peter Saul said:
“Sadly, the results of the survey did not come as a big surprise. It is good that two thirds of GPs felt able to turn to a colleague for support. That does say something very positive about the profession. However, we need to ensure that GPs have access to a range of support options.”
Responding to the results of the survey, Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing Eluned Morgan said:
“We know for the GPs and other NHS staff, putting their own wellbeing at risk to keep the rest of us safe, that the relentless pressure of the pandemic will have consequences. We welcome the RCGP survey and the intelligence it provides. It is a credit to the profession that responses show many GPs can continue to support their colleagues in such challenging times.
“We are committed to improving access to the necessary support for doctors who are struggling with their mental health. We have invested an additional £1m into the Health for Health Professionals (HHP) Wales Service, which provides all doctors in Primary and Secondary Care, and all other staff within the Welsh NHS, access to British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (BABCP) in their area. We will be doing future work with Cardiff University, who administer the service, to ensure it able to adapt to changing levels of demand.”