Belgium to spend €200,000 on psychological well-being of doctors

Belgium to spend €200,000 on psychological well-being of doctors
Credit: Belga

The National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (INAMI) and the Federal Public Service for Public Health have made available €200,000 in aid for the psychological well-being of doctors, the two organisations announced on Tuesday.

The amount will be paid to Médecins en difficulté and Doctors4Doctors, two organisations already active for the well-being of doctors.

The funds will enable them to develop a measuring instrument to regularly assess the degree of well-being of doctors, but also to develop a mentoring system, to organise preventive actions or to deal with concrete requests for help from doctors who turn to them.

"Only a health care provider who feels good will be able to offer high quality care to patients," Inami stressed, adding that the coronavirus crisis has reminded us of their crucial role in our society.

"We really want to encourage doctors to seek help when needed, whether it is through individual help, peer-to-peer contact, sharing good practice or attending webinars on the subject," said INAMI's chief executive Jo De Cock.

"In addition to the need for immediate action, the coronavirus crisis has only underlined the need to reform our health system," said Minister of Public Health Frank Vandenbroucke.

"It is now clear that we need to move away from purely performance-based financing and individual practices that put immense pressure on the doctor," he added.

The aid will be evaluated at the end of the year. The aim is to eventually extend the support offer to other care providers beyond doctors.

Recent surveys show a strong need for peer support, mentoring and self-care, Inami said.

More than one in five (22%) healthcare professionals are thinking of retiring, according to a study by Sciensano and the KU Leuven published in January. This figure has doubled with the coronavirus crisis.

A survey by the Dutch-speaking organisation of doctors in training (Vaso) also showed that 53% of them suffer from mental problems. Some 4% said they were seeking professional help. Nearly two out of ten are even considering interrupting their training, twice as many as before the epidemic.

The Brussels Times

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