The rate of GP burnout is twice as high among those who care for the highest numbers of patients with multimorbidity compared to other doctors, a Danish study reports today.
Anette Fischer Pedersen and colleagues in Aarhus, say the increased risk of burnout could be explained by increased workload, fragmented specialist care, inadequacy of guidelines on multimorbidity, and the lack of additional funding for GPs managing large numbers of patients with complex healthcare needs.
Writing in the British Journal of General Practice, they say there is a need “to prevent the sickest patients with the most complex health needs having their needs met by burned-out GPs, who may perform sub-optimally”.
The researchers used valid Danish registries to establish two observed contemporary trends: the increased incidence of patient multimorbidity and increased incidence of burnout in GPs, which are linked at practice level. Some 3,000 doctors took part in a survey and the findings were linked to registry details of patient multi-morbidity.
Fischer Pedersen said “Our findings call for actions to reduce the future workload from an ageing population. This could involve rethinking the organisation of primary care and creating better working conditions for GPs who must handle increasingly complex health needs of patients with multimorbidity. Otherwise, we might risk the paradox that the patients with the greatest need receive the least treatment.”