INDIVIDUAL & OCCUPATIONAL FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF BURNOUT IN GENERAL PRACTITIONERS IN NORTHERN IRELAND
E. S. L. Porter, Self Employed, Belfast, UK
Prevention of burnout in the medical profession is of global interest due to the economic burden of sickness absenteeism and other negative consequences of burnout relating to job satisfaction, performance, and patient care. A healthy, functioning workforce is central to delivery of good primary care.
Health is devolved within the UK, with research on burnout lacking in the region of NI specifically. This observational study aimed to estimate prevalence of burnout among NI GPs, and identify demographic, individual, and occupational characteristics associated with its development. The region of NI merited further research due to combined effects of ongoing politico-economic instability, chronic healthcare underfunding, and workforce shortage.
A cross-sectional, survey-based study was designed and distributed to GPs currently working in NI. The anonymous, confidential, online survey incorporated a validated instrument (Oldenburg Burnout Inventory) to measure burnout, in addition to items examining demographic, individual and occupational variables considered potentially relevant following literature review.
327 completed surveys were received. 46.5% of respondents reported a moderate degree of burnout, and 26.0% a high degree of burnout. Several new statistically significant associations and predictive factors for increased burnout were identified (recruitment difficulties; fear of abusive behaviour; adverse political impact on primary care; alcohol use; consideration of change of job/specialty or relocation outside UK; and early retirement intention).
Causality cannot be established from a cross-sectional study. Some findings were region-specific, including some potentially modifiable variables. As burnout has important negative implications for doctors, patients, and the NHS, further research is recommended.
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