A doctor quit his job on live television this morning after announcing it left him feeling suicidal.
GP Joe McGilligan appeared on Good Morning Britain today to share his story and announce his resignation.
An investigation carried out by the show and Pulse magazine revealed that nearly half of GPs are at breaking point due to stress with 15 per cent turning to prescription drugs and alcohol in an attempt to cope.
McGilligan is one of these GPs and after working for the NHS for 25 years he is resigning because he can no longer cope with the stress which led him to once thinking about killing himself with a chainsaw.
We are our worst enemy. We work very hard to help our patients.
But a few years ago I had a time where I wasn’t working very well. Two years I was very stressed and depressed.
I wasn’t being a good father or husband, and it got to the point where I was chopping logs and as I was putting the chainsaw down I thought, it would be easier for me to just end it here.
But I didn’t do it because I had my mobile phone in my pocket and I thought people would then think I didn’t try and call for help. But people don’t look for help.
I was drinking too much, just to relieve the stress. I was working 14/15 hour days and I wasn’t doing my job properly.
You can watch his interview on Good Morning Britain here:
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McGilligan had originally planned to resign live on-air but was struggling so much he couldn’t wait and handed his notice in yesterday.
I can’t continue doing the job I am doing, because of the burnout. There is no off switch.
The issue is the prescriptions, the paperwork, the correspondences, if you miss something patients might get harmed.
I have made mistakes because of the stress I am under. I am stopping being a GP.
I feel I am now able to continue being the person I was and I never want to go back. I still love the job but it is unsustainable at the moment.
A lot of GPs don’t know about the help they can get, we are meant to be resilient but we are only human.
Dr Clare Gerada appeared on the show to talk about the issue which led to her setting up a clinic specifically for GPs.
We only started in January and we have so far seen 900 GPS suffering from depression and burnout.
It is important as GPs are essentially the front door of the NHS, if we give in, I am afraid the NHS can’t cope with the workload.
There was mental illness 15 years ago but now I cannot do a full day of work without feeling exhausted at the end of it.
It is the complexity of what we do, work shifting from hospitals to GPs. Now GPs are best placed to do everything.
Good Morning Britain also received a statement from a spokesperson for the Department of Health who said that they are investing £2.4 billion into GP surgeries by 2020 and are continuing to explore options with GPs to overcome the challenges they face.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.