19 December

We usually feel safe in the hands of our doctor, usually there are other pressing matters that our focus remains on our own health. But it has been discussed lately by the GMC that the health of doctors deserves more attention. Statistics follow at;

Up to 28 doctors took their own lives between 2005 and 2013 while being investigated by the General Medical Council…The independent report, based on a review of GMC cases over eight years, found that 24 doctors undergoing fitness to practice investigations were classified as “suicide” and four as “suspected suicide”. [1]

The GMC must investigate all doctors who have complaints made against them. It is known to be one of the most stressful processes for Doctors to undergo. Due to this, a populous of doctors are created who suffer severe stress, and in the few cases over the past years, some are driven to suicide.

Those that did suffer greatly, also suffered from alcohol and drug addiction, therefore where battling issues in their career. It was also noted that they suffered from mental disorders, ‘such as depression, bipolar disorder and personality disorder, or had addiction problems.’ [2]

Although we cannot blame the GMC for the severity of the Doctors stress, we can think about the stressful impacts that Doctors have to deal with. Dealing with the lives of others on a daily basis is one of the most (if not the most) taxing job to have. We must recognize that Doctor’s are not unbreakable, and we must understand the pressures they face. As  Dr Clare Gerada, medical director of the Practitioner Health Programme, said, “Doctors are sometimes patients too and supporting vulnerable doctors is a shared responsibility.” [3]

The GMC are aware they need to review their processes and continue to protect patients, but to also monitor the well-being of the doctors and ensure they are looked after also.

With a rise in mental health issues, we may forget to look towards those Doctor’s and Nurse’s that are surrounded by the illnesses everyday. Like anyone would expect sometimes the stress is too much to handle. We must appreciate our Doctor’s on another level – those that hold the responsibility of everyone else.


If you have experienced anything like this, as a patient or a Doctor, or Nurse. Please let us know. We are interested to know your thoughts.


[1] BBC News, (2014). ‘Support vulnerable doctors’ call. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-30534001 [Accessed 19 Dec. 2014].

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

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