Updated: Nov 1, 2018
My name is Dr Stewart Manning
I qualified in London in 1973 and retired in 2012, having practised as a GP in Leeds since 1976. I suffered “Burnout “and a breakdown in 2010. After five months, I returned to work and retired one year later.
I do not attribute my illness to stress at work, although I acknowledge that the work we do is inherently stressful. I believe that as Medical Practitioners we cope until we encounter major problems in our own lives. Every bad experience knocks a person down and I do not think that we ever regain the position we were prior to this event.
The external stress in my case was my eldest daughter moving to live in America and my mother having severe dementia and fungating breast cancer. I think that as doctors when we cannot make our own relatives better than this is a major stressor, especially as other family members rely on us.
My work did not suffer but, I used it as an excuse to stop socialising with family and friends. As well as, working full time I did an out of hours session every Sunday for over 30 years.
My illness came on gradually and I compounded my situation by being registered at my own practice as a patient, which the GMC quite rightly now discourages. I was Senior Partner, so no one really tackled me about my problems.
It is extremely difficult to obtain the right work /life balance, but I think that being a Portfolio Doctor or at the very least having a medical interest outside General Practice may well help in the long term.
I think connecting with Inspired Medics and embracing their philosophy may well help doctors from suffering burnout in the future. Attending regular meetings with other doctors helps prevent isolation and gives an opportunity to talk about problems. I am delighted to be associated with Inspired Medics and hope by sharing my experiences that I may help others in the future.
I really enjoy my retirement and work with two Charities as their Goodwill Ambassador. I miss the daily contact with patients but although I can no longer treat people I believe I can carry on being a “Doctor “, in its true sense, by helping people.
Written by Dr Stewart Manning