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Influences on GP coping and resilience: a qualitative study in primary care.

Cheshire, A., Ridge, D., Hughes, J., Peters, D., Panagioti, M., Simon, C. and Lewith, G., 2017. Influences on GP coping and resilience: a qualitative study in primary care. British Journal of General Practice, 67 (659), e428 - e436.

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DOI: 10.3399/bjgp17X690893


BACKGROUND: 'Neoliberal' work policies, austerity, NHS restructuring, and increased GP consultation rates provide the backdrop against increasing reports of GP burnout and an impending shortage of GPs. AIM: To explore GPs' experiences of workplace challenges and stresses, and their coping strategies, particularly focusing on understanding the impact of recent NHS workplace change. DESIGN AND SETTING: Study design was qualitative, with data collected from two focus groups and seven one-to-one telephone interviews. METHOD: Focus groups and one-to-one telephone interviews explored the experiences of GPs currently practising in England, recruited through convenience sampling. Data were collected using a semi-structured interview approach and analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: There were 22 GP participants recruited: focus groups (n = 15) and interviews (n = 7). Interviewees understood GPs to be under intense and historically unprecedented pressures, which were tied to the contexts in which they work, with important moral implications for 'good' doctoring. Many reported that being a full-time GP was too stressful: work-related stress led to mood changes, sleep disruption, increases in anxiety, and tensions with loved ones. Some had subsequently sought ways to downsize their clinical workload. Workplace change resulted in little time for the things that helped GP resilience: a good work-life balance and better contact with colleagues. Although some GPs were coping better than others, GPs acknowledged that there was only so much an individual GP could do to manage their stress, given the external work issues they faced. CONCLUSION: GPs experience their emotional lives and stresses as being meaningfully shaped by NHS factors. To support GPs to provide effective care, resilience building should move beyond the individual to include systemic work issues.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:coping skills; general practitioners; political factors; primary health care; professional burnout; psychological resilience; Adaptation, Psychological; Adult; Attitude of Health Personnel; Burnout, Professional; Female; Focus Groups; General Practitioners; Health Care Reform; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Occupational Health; Primary Health Care; Qualitative Research; Resilience, Psychological; State Medicine; United Kingdom; Work-Life Balance; Workload; Workplace
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:30722
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:17 May 2018 10:37
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:10


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