There is a difference between seeing a patient with a catalog of two or more serious chronic diseases and a healthy patient who just needs a prescription to treat a case of cystitis.
A new Danish study from the Research Unit for General Practice at Aarhus University, Denmark, shows that having many patients with multiple chronic diseases - known as multimorbidity - places general practitioners under mental strain. And to such a degree that they risk burnout. What's more, other studies have shown that the patients with multimorbidity also receive worse treatment in the healthcare system.
The study is based on previous research showing that there are increasing numbers of patients with multimorbidity, meaning that the prevalence of GPs with symptoms of a lack of well-being and a risk of burnout is also increasing.
This is the conclusion of Anette Fischer Pedersen, who is senior researcher at the Research Unit for General Practice and an associate professor at the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University. She is heading the current study, which has just been published in the scientific journal British Journal of General Practice .
One of our findings in the study is that among the quarter of general practitioners who had the fewest number of patients with multimorbidity in 2016, seven per cent had what we call full burnout syndrome. This contrasts with the figure of twelve per cent among the quarter who had the highest number of patients with multimorbidity.
She believes that the result shows the importance of looking closely at the working conditions of general practitioners.
As things are today in the context of general practitioners' time and remuneration, there is often no difference between treating a patient with a long and complex history of illness and a normally healthy patient who is there to get treatment for an uncomplicated illness. This puts general practitioners under a lot of pressure." Anette Fischer Pedersen, senior researcher and associate professor, Aarhus University Related Stories
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