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Doctors facing complaints at risk

19 January 2015

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Medical staff dealing with complaints made against them need extra support as they are most at risk of severe depression claims an online medical journal.

BMJ Openconducted a survey of 7,926 doctors across the UK as part of a study, The impact of complaints procedures on the welfare, health and clinical practice.

They found that around one in six (just under 17%) of those with a recent complaint were moderately to severely depressed, and they were 77% more likely to report these symptoms than doctors in the other two groups, after taking account of influential factors.

These rates increased among doctors whose complaint had been referred to the General Medical Council (GMC).

This news comes following criticism towards the GMC regarding the way it treats medical staff who have had complaints made against them. As a result, the GMC is currently reviewing their hearings process.

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the General Medical Council, said:

‘We know that some doctors who come into our procedures have very serious health concerns, including those who have had ideas of committing suicide. We know too that for any doctor, being investigated by the GMC is a stressful experience and very often follows other traumas in their lives.

“Our first duty must, of course, be to protect patients but we are determined to do everything we can to make sure we handle these cases as sensitively as possible, to ensure the doctors are being supported locally and to reduce the impact of our procedures.”