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MALTATODAY 4 September 2022

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Thank you... for having bought this newspaper The good news is that we're not raising the price of our newspaper We know times are still hard, but we have pledged to keep giving our readers quality news they deserve, without making you pay more for it. So thank you, for making it your MaltaToday Support your favourite newspaper with a special offer on online PDF subscriptions. Visit or scan the QR code Subscriptions can be done online on Same-day delivery at €1 for orders up to 5 newspapers per address. Subscribe from €1.15 a week Same-day print delivery from Miller Distributors mt 2 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 4 SEPTEMBER 2022 NEWS 'Overworked, burnt out and harassed' – the study that paints a bleak picture of young, women doctors 59% of doctors are not reporting their mental health problems – 63% reporting high stress levels are women. And 19% of doctors are sexually harassed by patients, 10% by other health professionals and 9% by senior medical staff MALTESE doctors in general are working an average of 50.7 hours every week, according to a study on their health and wellbeing of doctors based on a questionnaire answered by 173 medical doctors – approxi- mately 8% of the total registered with the Malta Medical Coun- cil. The study published in the Malta Medical Journal and con- ducted by Marilyn Harney and Jurgen Abela from the Depart- ment of Primary Health Care, is the first for which all doctors working in Malta have been in- vited to participate. But participants were found to have higher levels of stress, burnout, compassion fatigue and secondary traumatic stress than their international peers, and were especially prevalent in young female doctors still in training. Females also reported con- sistently higher levels of men- tal ill health including stress, burnout, compassion fatigue and secondary traumatic stress. One of the reasons for this was that female doctors, particularly those in training, have "to juggle many other things in addition to work-related tasks." The study found that 81 doc- tors (47%) worked over the 48 hours per week stipulated in the European Working Time Directive. In Malta, doctors are allowed to opt out of the EW- TD and are able to work longer hours if they so wish. Working hours were longest among Foundation Year doc- tors, 81% of whom work over 48 hours, and amongst doctors in training, where 62% work over this limit. But working hours tend to decrease as career pro- gresses, especially with 35% of specialists. The study shows that levels of burnout appear to decrease with advancing career stage, with doctors in the earlier stages of their career being im- pacted the most. 84.3% of participants also worked during weekends, and 54.7% worked on-call duties or night shifts. Forty-seven (27.2%) par- ticipants reported that they managed to take a minimum 30-minute lunch break "all or most of the time" while at work, compared with 49 (28.3%) who never managed to. Belittled and harassed Participants were asked to indicate whether they expe- rienced belittlement, harass- ment or sexual harassment at the workplace, and to indicate the source and whether this oc- curred 'sometimes', 'often' or 'regularly'. Significantly, 33 doctors (19%) reported being sexually har- assed by patients, 15 (9%) re- ported being sexually harassed by senior medical staff – of which three experienced this regularly – and 17 doctors (10%) were harassed by other health professionals. 13 doc- tors were sexually harassed by non-medical staff. 133 doctors also reported be- ing belittled by senior medical staff, 31 of which on a regular basis. From the participants who reported that they felt belit- tled often or regularly, 63.3% were females. 80% of those who reported sexual harassment which happened often or regu- larly were females. JAMES DEBONO

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