'Abused and exhausted': 90% of junior doctors say mental health has worsened

A survey carried out by ITV News has shown that 90% of junior doctors say work has worsened their mental health, as Martin Stew reports

NHS pressures aren’t just impacting patients' physical health, they’re affecting doctors’ mental health too.

According to a survey carried out on behalf of ITV News, many feel burnt out, demoralised and some are even driven to have suicidal thoughts.

More than half said last year was worse for their mental health than either of the pandemic years.

265 Junior doctors responded to the survey, which was shared online by the Charity Duty to Care.

91% said that since becoming an NHS junior doctor, their mental health had been negatively impacted.

Of those who answered yes:

  • 99% thought their mental health could be improved if working conditions improved;

  • 89% Have thought about leaving the profession;

  • 53% Said 2022 had been worse than either of the pandemic years (2020/21).

In anonymous comments several said they often feel suicidal. One doctor responded “being dead is preferable to being bullied by my racist, sexist colleagues”.

The British Medical Association says there are 9,000 unfilled doctor’s jobs.

They say the lack of staff leads to longer hours and more stress for those who are on shift.

Sumi Manirajan is in her second year as a doctor but already feels burnt out. Two of her close colleagues have quit recently to move abroad, she’s considering doing the same.

Second year junior doctor Sumi Manirajan already feels burnt out.

“If we don’t do something about this I’m either going to leave the profession, end up in a worse place than I am at the moment or I’ll just move abroad.”

A ballot on whether to take strike action closes on Monday next week.

The government says supporting and retaining NHS staff is one of its top priorities. £45 million has been invested in mental health hubs and that there are nearly 5,000 more doctors than last year.

"We are giving the NHS an extra £6.6 billion over the next two years," a spokesperson for the department of health said.

They added they will publish a "comprehensive workforce strategy" next year to recruit and retain more staff.

If you are struggling with your mental health you can get support from these organisations: