Burnout constitutes a significant problem among physicians which impacts negatively upon both the doctor and their patients. Previous research has indicated that burnout is prevalent among primary care physicians in other European countries and North America. However, there is a paucity of research assessing burnout among Irish general practitioners and examining predictive factors.
To report the findings of a survey of burnout among Irish general practitioners, and assess variables related to burnout in this population.
An online, anonymous questionnaire was distributed to general practitioners working in the Republic of Ireland.
In total, 683 general practitioners (27.3 % of practising Irish general practitioners) completed the survey. Of these, 52.7 % reported high levels of emotional exhaustion, 31.6 % scored high on depersonalisation and 16.3 % presented with low levels of personal accomplishment. In total, 6.6 % presented with all three symptoms, fulfilling the criteria for burnout. Emotional exhaustion was higher among this sample than that reported in European and UK studies of burnout in general practitioners. Personal accomplishment was, however, higher in this sample than in other studies. Multiple regression analyses revealed that younger age, non-principal status role, and male gender were related to increased risk of burnout symptoms.
The symptoms of burnout appear prevalent among Irish general practitioners. This is likely to have a detrimental impact both upon the individual general practitioners and the patients that they serve. Research investigating the factors contributing to burnout in this population, and evaluating interventions to improve general practitioner well-being, is, therefore, essential.