RANZCP member wellbeing: findings from our 2020 survey

10 September 2021

A new report with the results of the 2020 RANZCP member wellbeing survey has just been released.

Consultation is now underway to identify practical and sustainable measures for the College to better support members’ health and wellbeing.   

The health and wellbeing of all RANZCP members – across all stages – is a key priority for the College.

The 2020 RANZCP member wellbeing survey received an excellent response, with over 1,200 members providing information about their experiences with maintaining their wellbeing. Responses were broadly representative of the College membership as a whole, based on member type, location and gender.

The survey was conducted in a time of uncertainty and significant workload pressures for many psychiatrists and registrars, which have endured into 2021 as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new survey findings report contains analysis and several comparisons with the last similar study undertaken in 2014. The report also highlights some of the differences in responses from members working in either public or private practice.

Key findings include:

  • The highest rated stressor for respondents over the previous 12 months was ‘too much work to do in limited time’ followed closely by ‘emotional exhaustion’ and the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Respondents generally perceived their work and life balance as ‘mostly balanced with occasional periods of poor balance’, closely followed by ‘mostly balanced’.
  • Respondents generally experienced that it was harder to take time off work for health concerns than it was easy, with ‘difficult’ and ‘very difficult’ rating most highly. This trend was more pronounced for psychiatrists in private practice than it was for those in public practice.
  • ‘Time’ was the largest reported barrier for seeking assistance in relation to wellbeing.
  • When it comes to taking time off from work, ‘fears of letting the team down’ and workplace capacity and resourcing issues were the two biggest barriers to seeking help for one’s own wellbeing.
  • Trainees focused on the compounding impact of changes to College training assessments and examinations as a point of stress, with the essay exam highlighted (this was also the case for specialist international medical graduate respondents).
  • Almost three quarters of respondents (72%) reported that they were aware of their local doctors’ health/medical services that could address any health concerns they had.
  • When it came to the ability to talk with another medical practitioner about their own health concerns, the largest group of respondents (37%) said that this was ‘neither difficult nor easy to do’. Public psychiatrists found it harder to talk with another medical practitioner about their own health. This response represented a concerning decline since the 2014 survey, when 23% had reported this as being ‘very easy’ and 59% as being ‘easy’.  
  • The highest-rated factors when seeking support to maintaining wellbeing for all member groups was ‘having helpful colleagues’, followed by ‘peer review’, and then ‘supervision’. This was consistent with the 2014 survey responses.
  • Support for trainees relating to assessments and examinations was the highest rated area that was identified for the College to improve its efforts to support member wellbeing. Positively, a significant number of respondents expressed that they were pleased with the support offered from the College.

Taking the survey results forward, the Membership Engagement Committee and the Member Wellbeing Subcommittee will be consulting with members and key College committees to seek their views on practical measures the College can implement as part of a future College action plan aimed at supporting and improving member wellbeing.  

Access and read the full 2020 RANZCP member wellbeing survey report today.

Please share your feedback and ideas on this report, by emailing the Membership Engagement Committee at board_mec@ranzcp.org

And remember that you can always access our Member Wellbeing Support Hub for further support for yourself or a colleague, or if you simply want to know what’s available.