‘Tired. Concerned. Trying not to lose hope.’ Doctors speak out about a year at work.
Doctors and dentists have shared their lived experience of working in the health service during one of its toughest years, in a new report by MDDUS.
A collection of health professionals’ personal ‘notes on a year’ is the key theme of the UK medical and dental defence organisation’s annual report and accounts for 2022.
MDDUS asked a sample of its 56,000 members to reflect on three prompts about their experiences at work last year:
- has the pandemic changed things forever for health professionals?
- what does it mean personally to be a health professional?
- can you sum up 2022 in eight words?
The questionnaire was just one example of how the mutual organisation listened to its members to provide them with reliable advice and relevant support during a very challenging year.
In the testimonies, published by MDDUS in its annual report, a doctor from Scotland said that “trust, respect and confidence in healthcare professionals have been shattered” following the pandemic.
Another said simply that things at work were “much more hostile”.
Despite the negative impact of the pandemic, most healthcare professionals considered their role as one they are proud of and passionate about.
A doctor from London said: “I love the feeling of curing and caring for patients, that’s all that matters to me.
“But bad-mouthing from media and government on top of my poor pay impact my motivation to work.”
While one chose to sum up the year in less than eight words, saying: “Tired. Concerned. Trying not to lose hope”.
The challenges faced by MDDUS members in 2022 were reflected in the volume of advice calls dealt with by its medico-legal experts – up 15% year-on-year.
MDDUS represents the professional interests of more than 56,000 doctors and dentists across the UK.
The annual report and accounts for 2022 also shows that MDDUS:
- increased membership by three per cent
- introduced free, unlimited wellbeing support for all members and their admin teams
- handled nearly 8,800 calls from doctors seeking advice and support
- provided its doctor members with almost 2,200 hours of professional advice, a 15% increase on 2021
- supported nearly 3,000 dentists with issues ranging from complaints to regulatory investigations
Chris Kenny, MDDUS chief executive, said: “Most people, including me, probably believe they understand the incredible efforts doctors and dentists make to keep people safe and healthy.
“But regular survey evidence and reading replies from our members about their experiences on the frontline was a stark reminder of how difficult it has been for those providing our healthcare service.
“At MDDUS, it is our job to provide expert advice and support to our members, 24 hours a day, seven days a week – whenever they need us.
“We are proud to be trusted by doctors and dentists to represent them, often at the most challenging moments in their careers.
“And so I was pleased to see membership grow in 2022, especially in areas where traditionally our competitors have dominated.”
Professor Iain Cameron, chair of MDDUS, said: “We made sure our members’ voice was heard as governments in the UK designed and reformed healthcare policy.
“Our efforts to ensure strong, meaningful relationships with key stakeholder groups paid dividends as crucial changes we called for were delivered in legislation and regulation.
“I am proud of the way we responded, the proactive steps we took and the care and diligent support we provided when it was really needed.”
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Read about how MDDUS uncovered the extent of patient abuse doctors face at work