Coronavirus: Wellbeing resources for doctors

We know that working in challenging situations can leave you feeling stressed and tired, and your own wellbeing may feel like the last priority.

In 2019 we published an independent report into the wellbeing of UK doctors and medical students, by Professor Michael West and Dame Denise Coia. It found that patient satisfaction was higher in workplaces where there was better staff wellbeing (see page 12 of the report).

It’s important that you rest, recharge and take time for yourself. This will protect your own wellbeing and help you care for your patients.

Useful resources

There's a range of resources across the UK that can support your wellbeing. These include:

Support services

It can help to talk to someone if you’re experiencing challenges or dealing with a difficult situation. Specialist services are available for healthcare workers, including:

  • The BMA counselling service – the confidential helpline is available to all doctors across the UK, not just BMA members. It also has an extensive directory of support services for doctors who might be struggling with a range of issues.
  • NHS staff support line – the free helpline is available to all NHS staff in England. Trained professionals can give you advice on coaching, bereavement care, mental health and financial help. Support via text is also available to doctors any time of day.
  • NHS Practitioner Health - a free, confidential NHS service for doctors and dentists across England with mental illness and addiction problems, who are working or looking to return to clinical practice. It can help with issues relating to a mental health concern, including stress or depression or an addiction problem, in particular where these might affect work. The service is provided by health professionals specialising in mental health support to doctors and is available in various locations across England.
  • Psychological helplines from Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland – local helplines are available to support healthcare staff across Northern Ireland.
  • National Wellbeing Hub support line directory – the hub contains a directory of services for NHS Staff in Scotland. This can also be broken down by region, so that staff can find support in their area.
  • Health for Health Professionals Wales – a free counselling service for all doctors in Wales.

Support with a bereavement

Everyone grieves in their own time and way. If you have recently experienced the loss of a friend, family member, colleague or patient, reaching out to those you trust can help. But if you feel you need additional support, it is available.

Supporting a colleague

Resources are also available if you’re helping a colleague through a bereavement. The BMA has produced a guide on what to do if you’re concerned about a colleague. And NHS England and NHS Improvement have created a bereavement support guide that you might find useful.