Doctors are twice as likely to die by suicide than the general population 10 months ago

Doctors are twice as likely to die by suicide than the general population

Hospital consultants are concerned at the levels of stress and burnout experienced by doctors.

Research undertaken by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland earlier this year has found that a doctor is now twice as likely to die by suicide than a member of the general public.

Hospital consultants at the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) Annual Conference in Dublin have expressed concerns about the level of stress and burnout experienced by doctors in Ireland's hospitals.

Health Minister Simon Harris was set to give the keynote address at the conference but the doctor's group said he pulled out at the last minute due to a scheduling clash.

The IHCA says the deteriorating working conditions across Ireland’s acute public hospitals is increasing the levels of stress and anxiety suffered by doctors.

Dr. Gabrielle Colleran, IHCA Vice-President said: “Working in healthcare has always brought with it a level of stress, but in recent years this has been amplified by the deteriorating working conditions faced by doctors on the front line in our hospitals.

"These poor conditions mean that doctors cannot work to the best of their ability and are delivering less than optimal care to patients”.

In Ireland, one in five of all consultant posts are either unfilled or only temporarily filled, and there are almost one million patients on waiting lists to see a hospital consultant.

Speakers called on the government to address the conditions and recruitment issues in this year's budget.

Irish doctor Dr. Toby Gilbert, who emigrated to Australia in 2012, said: “Since I've left Ireland my former colleagues tell me that conditions for both patients and the doctors treating them have deteriorated further. Consultants like me want to return to Ireland to work but we cannot do so until conditions improve.

“The Minister for Health and Government have an opportunity to tackle the consultant recruitment crisis in Budget 2020 and bring consultants back to our health service.”

If you've been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, some of the following organisations will be able to help

See below for contact details for mental health services currently available in Ireland.

  • Pieta House 1800 247 247

  • Samaritans 116 123

  • Aware 1800 80 48 48

  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)

  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)