“Frustration with the system was why I went off in the end,” said Conor Calby, 26, a paramedic and Unison rep in southwest England, who was recently off work for a month with burnout. “I felt like I couldn’t do my job and was letting patients down. After a difficult few years it was challenging.”
While he usually manages to keep a distinct divide between work and home life, burnout eroded that line. He also lost his sleep pattern and appetite.
The final straw came when what should have been a 15-minute call resulted in three hours on the phone trying to persuade the services that were supposed to help a suicidal patient to come out. “I was on a knife edge. That was due to the system being broken. That’s the trigger.”
Doctors and nurses are struggling under the strain too. After her third time with burnout - the last resulting in her taking six months off work – Amy Attwater, an A&E doctor, considered leaving the profession altogether.
Attwater, 36, said in the Covid crisis, during which a colleague killed himself, she started having suicidal thoughts and doubting her own abilities. She twice reported that she was being bullied but said no action was taken.
“The only thing I was left with was to take time off work. I ended up having therapy, seeing a psychiatrist and being on two antidepressants,” said Attwater, the Midlands-based committee member for Doctors’ Association UK.
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Source: The Guardian, 5 February 2023