WHO decision on burnout should translate into better working conditions

6:53 am Health Care

We should all welcome the decision by the World Health Assembly to include work-related burnout as a problem that influences health status of an individual.

The decision was taken during the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

Burn-out has been included in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an occupational phenomenon. It is not classified as a medical condition. It is described in the chapter: ‘Factors influencing health status or contact with health services’, which includes reasons for which people contact health services but that are not classed as illnesses or health conditions.

Burn-out has been defined as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.

It is characterized by:

Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to ones job; and
Reduced professional efficacy.
Burnout among physicians has been largely ignored by everyone for a long time.

Emotionally exhausted doctors are a danger to patients and a danger to themselves. The number of suicides among doctors resulting from burnout is a significant problem.

This World Health Assembly’s decision should lead to a new approach that addresses multiple factors including working conditions for doctors around the world’.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee

President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)

Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Past National President IMA

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