Medicopolitical Digest

BMA calls for risk management approach to stressJuniors set catering standards charterIrish qualifications and the specialist registerDefence society paid £67m to defend accused doctorsFunds allocated to reduce waiting lists

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 09 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1465

The BMA has called on the NHS Executive to adopt a risk management approach to the problem of work related stress among doctors. It wants medical staff to be involved in assessing the workplace pressures which cause stress, anxiety, and burnout.

Last week the association published The Assessment and Management of Work Related Stress in Doctors, which it commissioned from Professor Tom Cox and his colleagues in the department of psychology at the University of Nottingham. In order to test the risk management approach advocated by the Health and Safety Executive the authors undertook case studies in two large district general hospitals. They interviewed a sample of doctors to identify the stress hazards they face. Problems were classified as local or national. Local factors included sleep deprivation in noisy on-call rooms or inadequate provision of meals; poor career counselling; and lack of control over work. National problems included nursing shortages; pressure on beds; and the new business ethos in the NHS.

Commenting on the report, the chairman of the BMA's …

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