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GMC announces chairs of wellbeing review

A UK-wide review commissioned by the General Medical Council (GMC), to tackle the causes of poor wellbeing faced by medical students and doctors, has been launched.

The review, beginning during charity Mind’s Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May) is aimed at creating a healthy workplace, and will be chaired by leading healthcare professionals Dame Denise Coia and Professor Michael West.

"I am looking forward to identifying priority areas where the GMC and other key health organisations can work together to reduce workplace stresses on medical students and doctors. We know there’s already a wealth of established services that are effective and assisting doctors’ needs and we will be also be working to support these valuable projects."

Dame Denise Coia

Chair of Healthcare Improvement Scotland

It will analyse the working conditions that cause workplace stresses among doctors, the support currently available in healthcare organisations and medical schools to prevent workplace stresses, and examine how workplace stress and mental health conditions among doctors compare with other professions both within and outside healthcare. 

Chair of Healthcare Improvement Scotland and former Vice-President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dame Denise is a Clinical Psychiatrist and leader in the field of mental health, whose work in driving developments in healthcare quality and evidence-based practice has been recognised internationally. 

Prof. West is a leading researcher in healthcare, with particular focus on how compassionate cultures, leadership and staff engagement links to high quality patient care. He is a professor of Work and Organisational Psychology at Lancaster University Management School and a Senior Visiting Fellow at The King’s Fund.

Their work will involve research and engagement with a range of organisations. Their independent findings will be presented in a report, expected to be published early next year. 

The GMC will use the findings of the report to work with organisations to improve working conditions and support for medical students and doctors.

Dame Denise said: ‘I am looking forward to identifying priority areas where the GMC and other key health organisations can work together to reduce workplace stresses on medical students and doctors. We know there’s already a wealth of established services that are effective and assisting doctors’ needs and we will be also be working to support these valuable projects.’

Prof. West said: ‘Medical students and doctors work in high pressure environments and ensuring their wellbeing is supported is essential. Doctors do a difficult job of caring for patients, and  creating the best possible training and working environments that ensure their wellbeing is in the collective interests of doctors, the patients and the communities they serve.’

The announcement follows a symposium hosted by the GMC earlier this year with experts from across the profession to look at ways of tackling the causes and impact of work stress for doctors of all levels.

The review is part of a range of work by the GMC to help ease the pressure on doctors, including improvements to its investigation processes following advice from Prof Louis Appleby, who leads the Centre for Mental Health and Safety, the largest research unit in its field internationally.

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