16 Feb 2011

Stressed doctors try to 'soldier on'

6:49 am on 16 February 2011

Senior doctors have talked publicly about their rising stress levels, burn-out, and the need to soldier on.

The topic of burn-out, amid growing shortages of some health professionals, was a theme at an international cancer symposium in Wellington on Tuesday night.

The Medical Council told the gathering that 210 of the country's 12,500 doctors are being assisted by the council's own health committee.

Council chairman John Adams said there were 66 new referrals to the committee last year, half of them for psychological reasons.

Doctors at the conference acknowledged they often seek to soldier on and could help each other more.

Former Health and Disability Commissioner Ron Paterson said employers must provide more help.

He says the country can ill afford doctors and other professionals burning out because of growing workforce shortages.