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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 March, 2004, 11:00 GMT
Most GPs 'say they are stressed'
Many GPs say they are overworked
Four out of five GPs are stressed and most believe their problems will get worse rather than better, according to a survey.

The NOP poll for the BBC's Now You're Talking! programme and Pulse magazine also found that 5% of GPs say they are clinically depressed.

The findings come as another survey suggests public trust in doctors is at its highest level for 20 years.

The MORI poll found 92% of patients trust doctors to tell the truth.

Highest rating

It is the highest rating for doctors since the survey, which is commissioned by the British Medical Association every year, began in 1983.

Doctors traditionally top the poll and this year is no different. They are followed by teachers on 89% and professors on 80%.

Who do you trust?
Doctors 92%
Teachers 89%
Professors 80%
Government ministers 23%
Politicians 22%
Journalists 20%
Government ministers and politicians trail badly with 23% and 22% respectively. Journalists fare even worse with just 20% of the public saying they trust them to tell the truth.

However, the BBC poll suggests that many doctors are struggling to cope with the demands of their job.

Six out of 10 say they are more stressed now than they were 12 months ago.

Most blame excessive workload, pressure from patients, too many guidelines or increased scrutiny from local managers.

Most of the 569 GPs questioned said their new NHS contract, which comes into effect in April, will not do anything to help.

Seven out of 10 said they expected their stress levels to increase when the contract is introduced.

The poll was commissioned as part of the BBC's NHS Day - a special day of themed programmes on the NHS on Wednesday 24 March.

Phil Johnson, editor of Pulse, said GP shortages were helping to increase stress levels.

"The fundamental problem is that we simply do not have enough GPs and nothing will change that fact between now and the beginning of April," he said.

However, Dr John Chisholm of the BMA said GPs would see improvements as a result of the new contract.

Some turbulence and stress are inevitable with any major change," he said.

"However, once the contract is in place, practices have reorganised the way they work, particularly in relation to how they manage patients with chronic diseases, and GPs are able to opt out of out-of-hours responsibility if they wish, we should start to see an enormous transformation in general practice, to the benefit of GPs and their patients."


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