Doctors vulnerable to psychological distress and addictions: treatment from the Practitioner Health Programme

J Ment Health. 2011 Apr;20(2):157-64. doi: 10.3109/09638237.2011.556168.


Background: The Practitioner Health Programme (PHP) is a service set up to provide expert assessment and support to health professionals with mental and physical health problems affecting their ability to work.

Aims: The aim of this article is to examine the demographic and clinical characteristics of doctor-patients utilising PHP.

Method: We report on scores for the CORE-OM, the Work and Social Adjustment Scale and the FAST for the first 200 patients seen by PHP.

Results: Prevalent conditions included depression and alcohol dependence. Patients with co-morbid disorders showed severe distress and impairment of functioning. Ages ranged between 24 and 67, with 33.5% of the cohort aged between 30 and 39. Patients aged below 50 showed greater impairment of social functioning.

Conclusions: The needs of doctors are profound, with young doctors particularly vulnerable. Measures should be put in place to ensure that doctors at an early stage of their careers are aware of help available to them. The results highlight the importance of a service such as PHP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / therapy
  • Behavior, Addictive / epidemiology
  • Behavior, Addictive / etiology
  • Behavior, Addictive / therapy*
  • Burnout, Professional / complications*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Treatment Outcome