Cancer Professionals suffering higher levels of Burnout due to Covid-19

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Resilience Task Force has released results from two online surveys they have conducted, that suggest cancer professionals are suffering from higher levels of burnout due to Covid-19.

The initial survey was conducted from April 16 to May 3, 2020, and showed that 38 per cent of the 1520 respondents stated they had experienced feelings of burnout.

A follow-up survey was conducted from July 16 to August 6, 2020, and found 49 per cent of respondents reported feelings of burnout.

In the initial survey, 66 percent of respondents felt they were unable to do their job as well as they had been able to before the pandemic, but this proportion dropped to 49 per cent by the time of the second survey.

Lead author of the surveys, Susana Banerjee, of the Royal Marsden National Health Service Foundation Trust and Institute of Cancer Research, said, “These results suggest oncology professionals are adapting to the COVID-19 circumstances with a better ability to manage patients with cancer during the pandemic, but a higher risk of distress and burnout.”

The pandemic was one element causing burnout and distress to oncology professionals.

Before the pandemic, it is claimed they were already at a higher risk of developing both due to regularly discussing life-changing treatments, delivering bad news, and supervising therapies to patients that can have adverse effects.

Tara Sanft, of the Yale School of Medicine, said, “COVID-19 has meant that we had to do away with a lot of bureaucracy and hone in on what was important; I hope systems can learn from this reprioritisation.

“If we really want to address burnout we have to cut through all the red tape and get back to the business of taking care of the patient.”

Find out more about this story HERE on The Lancet Oncology journal.