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Last Updated: Friday, 23 April, 2004, 23:40 GMT 00:40 UK
NHS doctors call in stressbusters
Doctors blamed NHS reforms for their high stress levels
Doctors at a hospital in Manchester have called in a team of specialists to help them cope with stress.

Psychologists from Robertson Cooper surveyed staff at Central Manchester NHS Trust earlier this month.

According to Hospital Doctor magazine, they were invited in by consultants who were concerned about their rising stress levels.

Senior staff at the trust told the magazine NHS reforms have put extra pressure on them.

"The impact of modernisation together with local and national agendas for change have increased the pressure on staff across the whole of the NHS," said Len Richards, the trust's director of children's services.

The psychologists will use the results from the survey to identify any problems and draw up an action plan.

"The aim of the survey is to understand the levels of workplace pressures across the Children's Services Division, with every member of staff being invited to take part," said Mr Richards.

"It will allow us to identify areas for further work that will incorporate staff involvement through focus groups."

Increased stress

Dr Oliver Dearlove, a consultant paediatric anaesthetist at the trust's children's hospital in Pendlebury, was one of those who called for the specialists to be brought in.

"My perception was that there was an increased level of stress among colleagues at the Children's Hospital compared with other hospitals," he said.

This is a very positive step
Dr Edwin Borman,
British Medical Association
The British Medical Association welcomed the move.

"One of the problems in the past has been doctors' reluctance to admit they are ill, depressed or under considerable pressure," said Dr Edwin Borman, deputy chairman of its consultants committee.

"This is a very positive step and I very much hope that the consultants get the support they need."

Official figures show that doctors are twice as likely to kill themselves compared to people working in other professions.

Studies have also suggested that many turn to alcohol and drugs to help them deal with stress.

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