Changing the conversation about health

How to avoid NHS staff burn-out

During Mental Health Awareness Week, the College of Medicine is highlighting the subject of NHS burn-out.

In Chapter 13 of our 2021 manifesto, Hope for the Future, Professor David Peters addresses the issue of how doctors and nurses working in the UK’s national health system face significant risk of burn-out, particularly as we come out of the pandemic.

Professor Peters writes: ‘Working in healthcare can be hugely rewarding, but continual contact with human suffering, and high responsibility and risk, are both emotionally and intellectually demanding.

‘Burn-out affects decision-making and leads to errors. Over half of doctors surveyed recently said they wished to retire early or spend less time in clinical practice.’


The author references a 2019 British Medical Association study which found that eight in 10 doctors were at significant risk of burn-out and 27% had previously been diagnosed with a mental health condition.

As part of an action plan to help health practitioners affected, the College of Medicine outlines in Hope for the Future plans to create a Faculty for Practitioner Well-being, which will publish annual reports on NHS staff well-being and create a ‘National Practitioner Well-being Day’.

To read all of Professor David Peter’s chapter on NHS burn-out, click here


The College of Medicine’s new manifesto, Hope for the Future, is our vision for better healthcare in the next decade. Published during the uncertain era of a global pandemic, it looks ahead to a world altered by Covid-19 and has been written by some of the most influential names in UK health, including Sir Sam Everington, Sir Stephen Holgate and Dame Donna Kinnair.