Consultants Are Under Greater Stress At Work Than Junior Doctors

August 21, 1998

(Psychological morbidity and job satisfaction in hospital consultants and junior house officers: multicentre cross sectional survey)

Junior doctors have traditionally been the most distressed doctors in the health service and previous studies have found that levels of stress decrease with increasing medical seniority. However, Dr Navneet Kapur and colleagues in this week's BMJ, write that much of the organisational burden of recent hospital reform has fallen on the shoulders of consultants, while junior doctors continue to have their hours reduced. The authors investigated whether these changes had affected the relation between medical seniority, psychological illnesses and job satisfaction.

Kapur et al found that consultants had higher levels of psychological distress and suffered greater demands at work than house officers. The house officers were found to have low overall job satisfaction and less job autonomy, but they were more satisfied with their hours of work. The authors conclude that as their data are three years old, the situation now is probably even more pronounced.

Dr Navneet Kapur, Lecturer in Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Rawnsley Building, Manchester Royal Infirmary


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