Third of Welsh GPs 'self-treated' for pandemic mental health affects says report

GPs in Wales have been 'self-treating' for the mental health affects of the pandemic Credit: PA

A third of GPs in Wales say they have self-treated themselves for the affects of the pandemic on their mental health, according to a new survey.

The research, carried out by the Royal College of GPs in Wales, found that 65% hadsought support from a colleague in regard to their own wellbeing, 39% had self-treatedthemselves for the effects of the pandemic on their mental health and 26% were makinguse of wellbeing apps.

The Joint-Chair of RCGP Wales, Dr Mair Hopkin said doctors have been helping patients in a very challenging environment.

Dr 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 results of the survery "did not come as a big surprise" according to Professor Peter Saul, who is also Joint-Chair of the college

"It is good that two thirds of GPs felt able to turn to a colleague for support," he said. "That does say something very positive about the profession. However, we need to ensure that GPs have access to a range of support options."

In response to the survey, Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing ElunedMorgan MS 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 arestruggling 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 andSecondary Care, and all other staff within the Welsh NHS, access to British Associationfor 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.”