Personal Views

Stress in general practice must be tackled

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 06 May 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1204

I had always thought that our practice was fundamentally stable and supportive. Yes, we had our share of problems and differences of opinion, but other general practitioners seemed to have the same and often more serious worries. We are a large group practice. I am a trainer and member of two royal colleges and have other specialised interests. I believed, complacently, that we provided high standards of primary health care, and for that reason accepted any shortcomings in the group.

But communication in our large team was patchy. We had partners who avoided all contact with the rest of us and others with whom we remained in chronic financial dispute. We operated on a crisis intervention basis rather than attempting to pre-empt difficulties. We all hated on call duties, and we moaned about escalating patient expectations and demands, episodes of violent behaviour in the surgery, the prospect of no trainees in the future, and inefficient reception staff. We were all experts at defining the difficulties …

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