I sit here some 3 months on from my first blog which highlighted the pain and suffering my brother (a Doctor) faced and the continuing anguish us bereaved folk deal with. Some choose various paths to grieve, I have chosen to channel my efforts into improving the working lives of doctors and empower them to take charge of their own wellbeing constructively. I want my brother to be one of the last few to suffer.
A few months on, I am now more enlightened on the exact circumstances surrounding his immediate environment prior to his death. Knowing what I know now, I am now even more motivated to ask those in power for change in our healthcare system for the benefit of Doctors and indeed, all NHS staff. His story is not unique.
Yes, he was overworked and pushing himself to inhumane levels of performance for the primary objective of the good for his patients. But why? It is clear our health system does not equip doctors well enough with the tools to execute their jobs effectively, nor has processes or work cultures that ensure staff are looked after from a wellbeing point of view. That aspect of care is left to the individual, interesting stance from an organisation built and designed to deliver care. No one has time to look up from their immediate task to keep an eye out on their colleague, folk are simply too busy. There are not enough resources for the number of patients having to be treated.
Of course, there is also more to do with ensuring those in leadership positions with clinical responsibilities having access to the right level of leadership training and people management skills. It strikes me that this does not seem to have been a priority in the NHS, unlike the private sector which has always strived to ensure people have the skills to be a leader, not just the job title. Our health system has many layers of leadership, yet it has no consistent approach to people development accordingly.
Over the coming weeks and months I will be campaigning and lobbying for change in our system. I love the NHS and those that work within it. I also want to help doctors be the best they can be for the benefit of our society. For the future generation of caregivers, I will be engaging with medical students and junior doctors to help them realise that their indoctrination to be perfect doctors will be tested when they are put into a dysfunctional and imperfect health system and asked to deliver flawlessly.
I hope I can drive change quickly, the stigma of doctors mental health and wellbeing is killing people right now.
Written By Amandip Sidhu lost his brother a Consultant Cardiologist after he took his life thought to be due to the pressures he was under working within the NHS. Amandip is now setting up a charity called “Doctors’ in Distress” aimed to stop what happened to his brother happening again.
Amandip would like to thank everyone who read his fist blog and and contributed to his survey. He has read all 721 responses.