Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (O&G)
Almost all O&G practitioner patients who have presented to the service over the past 10 years have presented with mental health problems (92%) and only 6% with an addiction issue. 78% of the patients presenting have been female and 22% male, making this specialty one of the highest in terms of women presenting for care. At presentation to the service, a third of the patients were not working, the highest proportion out of the specialty groups seen at PHS. The total number of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists that have presented to Practitioner Health is 83 (over the 10 years) which is low, representing only 1.7% of the total. However, studies suggest that there are high levels of burnout, depression and other forms of mental illness in amongst clinicians in this specialty.
One factor that is thought to contribute to this is the ‘high stakes’ nature of the work and the common occurrence of medicolegal issues arising when things go wrong. There are however some protective factors found within Obstetrics and Gynaecology that we think may play into the lower levels of presentation at our service from this specialty.
These could be:
- The mixture of medical (including primary care), psychological and surgical skills that are combined within O&G
- O&G involves team work, coordinating care with clinicians from other specialties
- O&G clinicians get the opportunity to be with their patients during the most significant and special moments of a woman’s life and therefore have a big impact on the lives of their patients – helping these doctors to feel valued and appreciated
- Delivering health babies acts as a built in ‘victory’ within the O&G specialty, meaning these clinicians are provided with constant positive reinforcement