LONDON, May 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A new report from Medscape finds that 64% of UK doctors responding to a recent survey have been involved in the frontline care of patients with COVID-19, and that 44% had experienced ethical and moral dilemmas, including how to care for COVID patients while protecting themselves and their families, and contending with what they perceive as Government mismanagement and bullying from managers.
The Medscape UK Ethics Report 2020: COVID-19, Life, Death and Pain, features responses from 1,355 UK-based doctors on ethical issues faced in daily medical practice, conducted between 3 December and 23 February; 340 doctors responded to additional questions posed in mid-April when the pandemic was at its peak.
Doctors on the front lines reported being faced with ethical and moral issues including when and whether to intubate patients, the inability to properly examine patients, decisions on how to best care for patients with non-COVID but serious conditions, and how to deflect "government mismanagement" and "bullying" in the NHS. Almost one in three (31%) said they had been in contact with COVID-19 positive patients without adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). These factors may be among the reasons why there was a doubling in the number of doctors reporting high levels of burnout during the pandemic as compared to before the pandemic (8% v 16%) in a separate Medscape/WebMD online reader poll involving 110 UK doctors in April.
In addition, the report also found that:
More than half (54%) of doctors believe vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 should be fast-tracked; 28% were unsure.
50% said doctors should not be subjected to random drug and alcohol tests
One in 5 doctors would bend the rules to enable a patient to receive NHS funding for a treatment that wouldn't otherwise be funded, with an additional 32% saying that they might, depending on the situation
Almost one in 5 doctors (18%) would turn away patients that are difficult to treat.
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