Today I watched a TED Talk by Dr Zeshan Qureshi. I was very moved by Dr Qureshi’s calm honesty about mental health and suicide in doctors and by our shared experience. Dr Qureshi describes the current state of things for doctors in the NHS and the impact of them, illustrated by stories from his work, national statistics and quotes from colleagues. My favourite quote being:
“If the NHS was a coal mine it would have been shut down years ago”.
He begins with the organisational difficulties doctors face every day, such as inadequate staffing and lack of rest facilities, and considers the impact not just on doctors, but our patients and even the economy. He moves on to the individual challenges of being a doctor that contribute to “the suicide rate … double that of the general population”; the emotionally demanding nature of the decisions we make at work and the barriers to accessing support from colleagues. Dr Qureshi finishes by stating an adequate number of doctors need to be on shift, including in times of unexpectedly high workload, even if that means cancelling elective work and paying for extra staff. He very sensibly says that psychological support should be a routine part of working life for all doctors.
I really value the emphasis Dr Qureshi places on the NHS needing to be more resilient and not the individual in this talk. The message that we, our patients and the economy should demand and expect more from the government in nurturing the mental health of doctors is well put.
“If there was a drug that doubled the rate of suicide it would be a scandal”
Watch the TED Talk by following the link below: