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Many reactions to the survey on burnout factors



Last month, QMA-Info wanted to know more about your perceptions of physician burnout. According to a recent article published in The Medical Post, Canadian physicians considered administrative work to be one of the main causes of burnout.

The QMA wanted to know if the same was true in Quebec. And, in fact, based on your answers in the survey, many of you feel that administrative tasks are a major factor, but less so, however, than lack of control over your workload or ongoing reforms in the healthcare system.

This survey was also an opportunity for a number of you to condemn doctor bashing, which has been frequently reported in the media over the past few years. Many of you lament “disparaging remarks made against physicians”, “contempt expressed by government, the public and even your fellow physicians”, “negative publicity about family physicians in the media”, and “malicious statements” or “disparaging remarks” either about the work done by physicians or the profession.

Feelings of abandonment

You also often feel alone and isolated, abandoned and poorly represented by the government or your unions.

“The healthcare system is a big ship that is slowly sinking. Unfortunately, our decision-makers do not seem to realize it . . . and it drains one’s energy to see that . . .”

“The lack of vision and leadership in direction-less reforms result in disorganization of the work.”

“Constant devaluation by the MSSS via the media (e.g. doctors are lazy, unilateral contract negotiation threats); the FMOQ and the FMSQ seem incompetent and unable to stand up for us and represent us.”

“Use of half-truths, manipulation of statistics to hide problems in the system, derogatory comments by the Department of Family Physicians and by a union that seems to accept the belittling of its members in public.”

“I would never go back to family medicine . . .”

“knowing that the next generation is compromised again . . . discouraging . . .”

Toxic environments

You also describe clearly adverse working conditions where there are ever-increasing delays to obtain consultations or examinations, where it is impossible to receive or transfer information on patients from one institution to another, where it is difficult to communicate with your colleagues, where there is a lack of resources, computerization and staff, an electronic file that slows down your work, extended work hours, programs for research in medical education (RIMEs) that are not aligned with physician practice methods or population needs, etc.

Healthcare funding to be reviewed

And you can’t put up with it anymore: physicians being expected to be on the front line for everything because of “non-pharmacological therapy: psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nutritionists are not reimbursed” and there is no “adequacy of resources provided by the healthcare system relative to the needs of patients and other healthcare players, such as insurance providers and even employers.”

Add to that “unrealistic expectations of physicians, who should not only be involved in every committee, but also very available to see their patients at all times, always keeping up-to-date on knowledge, and always being efficient and maintaining a flow, while taking the time to explain things and be empathic.”

Lastly, you would like to see changes in compensation.

“All of these stories in the past two years about incorporation with Trudeau and physicians’ pay in Quebec have demoralized me as a young physician.”

“The whole financial arrangement that has doctors spending endless hours on billing and focusing on their financial returns rather than on patient care.”

We thank you for sharing these heartfelt findings with us and would like to share them with your colleagues. Thank you for responding to our surveys in ever-greater numbers and sending in whatever comments you have to QMA-Info or to the weekly press review. Your feedback and comments are useful for your association’s discussions and activities.


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