Forum: Act to mitigate burnout among local healthcare professionals

In the context of the local fight against the spread of the Covid-19 (coronavirus disease), the commentary about the cost of burnout and how this may relate to the spread of the coronavirus was of particular interest to me (As the world panics, can Singaporeans come together?, Feb 5).

A publication in the 2018 edition of the Singapore Medical Journal reported that the prevalence of burnout among medical residents in Singapore is 80.7 per cent. This is higher than the 47 per cent to 70 per cent reported in the United States.

Being a survey, there were no details regarding the causes behind it.

Disappointingly, there is no information subsequent to this study showing that this high rate of burnout among medical trainees has been addressed and rectified by the relevant authorities.

Singaporean medical officers and residents are the front-line doctors diagnosing and treating those who have been afflicted with the coronavirus.

These healthcare professionals are already known to have a high level of burnout prior to the additional workload and risk to their lives.

Are the local authorities addressing this situation which presents a double jeopardy for these doctors?

If so, measures taken should not just be for the short term while we are in the throes of this crisis, but also for the long term, so that Singapore and its citizens might enjoy a sustainable and excellent quality of medical care.

Mona Tan