A sea change for sick doctors – how do doctors fare after presenting to a specialist psychotherapy service?

Davies, Sally R.; Meerton, Maja; Rost, Felicitas and Garelick, Antony I. (2016). A sea change for sick doctors – how do doctors fare after presenting to a specialist psychotherapy service? Journal of Mental Health, 25(3) pp. 238–244.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3109/09638237.2015.1124386

Abstract

<i>Background:</i> Little is known about doctors who present to services following an episode of psychological distress. MedNet is a psycho-dynamically informed confidential self-referral service for doctors.<br></br><br></br> <i>Aims:</i> To examine the health and work trajectory of MedNet clients between 2002 and 2007 followed up in 2010.<br></br><br></br> <i>Method:</i> We report and compare service-monitoring data for 124 doctors on engagement with health services, whether in work or not, sick leave utilised, and reported distress measured by CORE-OM at intake and at one follow-up time point.<br></br><br></br> <i>Results:</i> 95.6% of doctors continue to work and progress in their careers. 58.3% remained engaged with services. Sick leave had reduced significantly at follow-up. Distress was significantly reduced, but no differences were found with respect to social functioning and well-being. An interesting shift was observed in doctors’ use of medication from treating somatic complaints towards treating mood symptoms.<br></br><br></br> <i>Conclusions: Doctors show improvements and continue to progress in their careers after a psychotherapeutically orientated intervention. A shift in doctors’ perception of their difficulties is indicated from more somatic to psychological concerns. Many doctor–patients continue with ongoing professional support.

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