Some 51% of GPs report a ‘lack of time to give sufficient emotional support to patients’ in a new profession-wide survey of doctors’ remote consulting by the BMA.
‘Lack of time to give sufficient emotional support to patients’ was one of the top five causes of ‘moral distress’ and half the GPs surveyed cited this problem.
The majority of doctors, 58%, said that moral distress could be alleviated by having more staff.
Doctors also reported that their attitudes towards locuming had warmed considerably. Some 44% of junior doctors said they are ‘more likely to work as a locum’ with a quarter of GPs who responded saying the same.
‘Moral distress’ is defined as ‘psychological unease generated where professionals identify an ethically correct action to take but are constrained in their ability to take that action’.
Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chair of the NASGP, wrote: “This timely report gives a name to the free-floating anxiety many of us experience surrounding remote consulting. Having empirical data to quantify its effects will help many of us make more sense of these feelings, and remind us to reassert our terms and conditions around appropriate consultation lengths whilst consulting remotely.
“So in all cases, it’s paramount that we protect our personal professional standards with good terms and conditions, and already many NASGP members make use of LocumDeck’s inbuilt T&C generator to add provisions around remote work.
“For GP locums, because of professional isolation, having friendly welcoming colleagues to talk through these feelings can be hard to find, so joining one of our many new chambers across the UK – or asking NASGP to set one up for you – is a great way discuss these and many other issues related to being a GP.”