Support for General Practitoners during COVID-19

Mark Davies, Davina Carr, Joe Dugan, Nigel Hart, Ruth Kirkpatrick, Claire Loughrey, Paul Loughrey, George O'Neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Evidence of initiatives to support General Practitioners (GPs) during the Covid-19 pandemic is scant. To understand the impact of a novel method of providing support in the early stages of the pandemic. A mixed-methods study of GPs working in a socially deprived area of Belfast. A survey was distributed to GPs who had attended a series of educational meetings at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey incorporated the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale and questions about the virtual meetings. Follow-up interviews were undertaken with five GPs to further explore their lived experiences and their perceptions of the virtual support forum. The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a measurable diminution of emotional well-being in GPs in North and West Belfast. Attendees rated a series of virtual meetings highly and described the following themes ( ): a sudden traumatic change ( ); a coming together ( ); reflections on what worked ( ) and building future direction ( ). The virtual meetings harnessed the instinct to come together witnessed at the beginning of the pandemic, and as well as sharing valuable information, also provided emotional support along with a sense of comradeship, ownership and autonomy. GPs did not feel included or supported at the outset of the pandemic. Coming together with fellow professionals was a welcome source of support. Professional support can be delivered using a virtual platform. Continued professional development is more acceptable than explicit emotional support, but when done well can bolster resilience and emotional well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-156
JournalThe Ulster medical journal
Issue number3
Early online date01 Sept 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 01 Sept 2021


  • pandemic
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Humans
  • COVID-19
  • Pandemics
  • General practice
  • General Practice
  • peer support
  • emotional support
  • General Practitioners


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