Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Letters Let’s talk about sustainability

New ways of working will help patients and sustain our profession

BMJ 2021; 373 doi: (Published 08 June 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1393

Rapid Response:

Re: Reducing Professional Loneliness

Dear Editor

CoVID pandemic has caused immense grief to the human society. However it has also brought out some of the human values to limelight. We have seen great examples of humanitarian work being carried out across the globe.

CoVID has also fast tracked remote consultations in the NHS. Video and telephone consultations have become part of clinical role.

As NHS clinical practitioners we always value team work, working closely with other members of the team. This helps to improve patients care in a multidisciplinary approach. However remote working and working from home has led to less and less physical contact with colleagues. One of the important issues we need to consider is the potential for professional loneliness and isolation. It is important to acknowledge this to avoid desperation and burnout.

Fortunately we have a vaccination programme which could possibly bring COVID to reasonable control and we could all meet in person and have meetings in future. However in the meantime it is important to have peer meetings to support each other. For example we have regular virtual multidisciplinary meetings and peer group sessions in Herefordshire mental health services. In addition community mental health services consultants meet for 30 minutes weekly to discuss various issues using virtually. Phone calls and emails from colleagues enquiring about health and offering support also would reduce professional loneliness.

Competing interests: No competing interests

15 September 2021
Madhavan Seshadri
Consultant Psychiatrist
Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust
27a St Owen Street , Hereford. HR1 2 ER