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To explore relationships between different styles of working and measures of occupational pressure in consultant psychiatrists. A random sample of 500 consultant psychiatrists were sent a questionnaire about working patterns and lifestyle factors, with other sections using validated tools (such as the 12-item General Health Questionnaire; GHQ).
There were 185 useable questionnaires returned (an adjusted response rate of 39%). Significant relationships were identified between job content and GHQ and burnout scores, indicating that occupational pressures are rendering some consultant posts ‘problem posts', leading to problematic levels of psychological distress among some consultants.
Although consultant psychiatrists are more satisfied than not with their jobs, steps need to be taken to address the causes of ‘problem posts', to reduce attrition in the most pressured individuals.
Previous research suggests that social workers experience high levels of
stress and burnout but most remain committed to their work.
To examine the prevalence of stress and burnout, and job satisfaction
among mental health social workers (MHSWs) and the factors responsible
A postal survey incorporating the General Health Questionnaire, Maslach
Burnout Inventory, Karasek Job Content Questionnaire and a job
satisfaction measure was sent to 610 MHSWs in England and Wales.
Eligible respondents (n=237) reported high levels of
stress and emotional exhaustion and low levels of job satisfaction; 111
(47%) showed significant symptomatology and distress, which is twice the
level reported by similar surveys of psychiatrists. Feeling undervalued
at work, excessive job demands, limited latitude in decision-making, and
unhappiness about the place of MHSWs in modern services contributed to
the poor job satisfaction and most aspects of burnout. Those who had
approved social worker status had greater dissatisfaction.
Stress may exacerbate recruitment and retention problems. Employers must
recognise the demands placed upon MHSWs and value their contribution to
mental health services.
The aim of the study was to explore how different styles of working relate to measures of occupational pressure experienced by consultant psychiatrists. A questionnaire was sent to a random sample of 500 consultant psychiatrists enquiring about work patterns, roles and responsibilities; it also contained validated tools, including the 12-item General Health Questionnaire.
A total of 185 usable questionnaires were returned; an adjusted response rate of 41%. More ‘progressive’ styles of working were found to be linked with less occupational pressure on consultant psychiatrists. Three scales were derived: positive workload pattern, clarity of role and perceived support.
Alterations in working style may be helpful in combating occupational stress, and therefore in reducing attrition in the psychiatric workforce. Consultants and their teams should give consideration to reviewing their roles and patterns of working.
The project gathered data from a cohort of 300 flexibly trained female consultants in psychiatry in order to understand how their careers had progressed since the completion of their training. A postal questionnaire was used to gather this information.
These consultants were generally satisfied with their training, and were succeeding in pursuing their careers. Flexible training was developed to enable people with family commitments to train in psychiatry, and this is what it is being used for.
Flexible training is an important avenue for an increasing number of psychiatrists to continue in their profession. With the current shortfall in consultant numbers, flexible training should be maintained and developed, and should be seen as a useful route to a consultant position.
This survey gathered data on the retirement intentions of consultant psychiatrists over the age of 50 years, in order to address retention issues. A questionnaire was sent to all 1438 consultants over this age in the UK.
A total of 848 questionnaires were returned, an adjusted response rate of 59%. The mean age at which consultants intended to retire in this sample was 60 years (s.d. 4.16), suggesting a potential loss of 5725 consultant years. Reasons for early retirement are complex: factors encouraging retirement include too much bureaucracy, lack of free time and heavy case-loads; those discouraging retirement include enjoyment of work, having a good team and money. Mental Health Officer status is an important determinant in the decision to retire early.
With numerous vacancies in consultant psychiatrist posts throughout the UK, premature retirement is a cause for concern, possibly contributing to an overall reduction in consultant numbers of 5%. Addressing factors that influence consultants' decisions to leave the health service early should form an important part of an overall strategy to increase consultant numbers.
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