13.03.2021 | COVID-19 | Brief Report
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A pilot study of burnout and long covid in senior specialist doctors
Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -)
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Covid-19 has placed unprecedented demand on healthcare systems and on healthcare professionals. There have been concerns about the risk of distress, moral injury and burnout among healthcare professionals, especially doctors.
To assess the effect of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic on Irish doctors by investigating the incidence of burnout and long covid among senior medical staff in Ireland.
This is a cross-sectional pilot study of the prevalence of burnout and long covid among senior physicians. A survey was sent by email to members of the Irish Hospital Consultant’s Association. The survey included measures of mental and physical health and the 2-item Maslach Burnout Scale (MBS-2). The study explored the experience of delivering health care in the context of a pandemic and experience of the long covid syndrome.
A total of 114 responses were received. Three-quarters 77% (N = 88) screened positive for burnout on the MBS, with mean score of 5.6 (SD3.3), nearly double the cut-off for burnout. Nearly two-thirds (64%, n = 72) reported that Covid-19 has had an adverse effect on their mental health. One-quarter reported that they or colleagues had experience of ‘long-covid’ secondary to the virus.
More comprehensive evaluation of the effect of the pandemic on front-line staff is needed to identify the extent of the problem and the factors which contribute to it. This will inform measures to mitigate these effects.