Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Doctors and their defences

Doctors’ defence mechanisms: mutual peer support is lacking

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 11 April 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l1634
  1. Vernon H Needham, retired general practitioner and case manager
  1. Wessex Professional Support Unit, Health Education England—Wessex, Winchester SO21 2RU, UK
  1. vernonneedham{at}

Gerada is right that doctors need to develop healthy psychological defence mechanisms.1 But this should be seen in a societal context and in company with other workers.

Society today encourages the open disclosure of emotional distress. But the work of the emergency services and clinicians can continue effectively only if this …

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