Canadian Medical Association

Ottawa (October 4, 2019) – Needing to be at work while ill, inefficient workplace practices, and poor work-life balance are some of the predictors of burnout amongst Canadian physicians, according to new research released today by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).

The report, Physician Health and Wellness in Canada: Connecting behaviours and occupational stressors to psychological outcomes, reveals a strong connection between occupational indicators and physician burnout, depression, and personal well-being. It follows last year’s research that highlighted that nearly one in three Canadian physicians reported high levels of burnout.

The latest data analysis shows half of those surveyed were dissatisfied with the efficiency and resources available in their clinical environment, known as a key driver of burnout. Two in five were dissatisfied with their work-life balance – which was also strongly linked to high levels of burnout as was low collegiality in the workplace and dissatisfaction with their overall career in medicine. Finally, over 20% went to work despite being sick or distressed in the previous 12 months, an issue known as presenteeism.

“This research is important because it allows for identifying actional areas to target in order to better support physician health and wellness, says Dr. Sandy Buchman, CMA president. “A healthy workforce is a shared responsibility. We all have a role to play because ultimately, it’s about creating the right environment for physicians to do what they do best: deliver patient care.”

Physician health and wellness is one of the CMA’s priorities, identified following extensive consultations and growing concerns over increasing rates of burnout and depression found in the profession. Today marks the start of the Canadian Conference on Physician Health in St. John’s (NL), the 10th anniversary of the conference organized by the CMA. This year, participants will discuss workplace issues and how to create a safe space for physicians and medical trainees.