Medical professionals’ mental health in decline as patient backlog predicted to remain until 2027

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  • 95% of surgeons and oncologists surveyed experienced negative mental health issues in 2023, returning to similar levels recorded in 2021 (98%) 
  • On average, professionals believe the backlog will take a further 3 years to clear, the second increase since the annual survey began in 2021 
  • Under two-thirds of respondents now believe technology can play a vital role in clearing the backlog, down from four out of five in 2022. ​ 

26th ​ March 2024, Weybridge, UK – Medical professionals across Europe are experiencing mental health issues on par with levels seen in 2021, when the professionals were in the depths of pandemic aftermath, new research from Sony Healthcare Europe has found. 

The survey of 600 oncologists and surgeons from the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and the Nordics found 95% had experienced at least one mental health issue over the past 12 months, increasing by 8% from last year and only 3% lower than 2021’s results. 

Depression was the most common mental health issue experienced (37%) and saw the biggest increase (9%) in instances since last year. All issues polled (insomnia, burnout, anxiety and distress) saw an increase, with the latter two issues affecting 37% and 34% respectively. 

Conducted for the third successive year by Sony, the study seeks to gauge the sentiment among leading medical professionals towards their work, as well as the role of new medical technologies in addressing key challenges within health systems. 

An overwhelming majority (90%) of these medical professionals have cited current staff shortages to be having a negative impact on clearing the patient backlog, which they believe will take on average yet another three years to clear (3.19 average). This expectation has been increasing year on year (2.19 in 2021 and 3.01 in 2022) resulting in an exponential timeline, indicating continued and/or new challenges to address. 

These issues seem to be impacting their attitudes toward their job in 2024. Respondents are feeling more concerned, sad, hopeless, and angry since last year when reflecting on their role in the upcoming year, with frustration seeing the biggest increase from one in five (20%) in 2022 to over a quarter (26%) in 2023. 

The survey shows potentially some reflection of these feelings on their relationship with their resources, as respondents have shown more pessimism when it comes to the role technology can play in supporting to clear the backlogs, with under two-thirds (62%) believing it to have a vital role, a 21% decrease since last year. 

The survey highlights the work to be done by technology partners in healthcare to re-instil hope that such resources can be utilised in a way that doesn’t further add challenges to stretched schedules but can ease day-to-day burdens during strained and pressured periods of time with real and experienced impact. 


Ludger Philippsen, Head of Healthcare Solutions Europe, Sony, said

“We know that no amount of technology can replace the hard-working and skilled professionals in the medical field, however with these levels of both logistical and emotional burdens three years after the beginning of the pandemic, we cannot deny there is a strong sense of responsibility to provide support through our partnerships. Trust in technology has fallen once again this year and so our role as a responsible supplier isn’t to convince technology is the complete answer, but to actively listen and support staff to provide solutions that will genuinely ease their current day-to-day challenges.” 

 Views aren’t completely negative though, with almost half (45%) of respondents feeling some positive emotion toward their role in 2024, with 29% feeling positive and 23% feeling excited for the year to come. 


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Survey details:  

The survey commissioned by Sony Healthcare Europe was conducted by Censuswide between the dates of 25 September – 2 October 2023. The survey was completed by 300 oncologists and 300 surgeons across France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, and the Nordics (50 of each per country). Respondents in the Nordics were based across Denmark and Sweden. 


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About Sony Corporation ​ 

Sony Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Group Corporation and is responsible for the Entertainment, Technology & Services (ET&S) business. With the vision to "continue to deliver Kando and Anshin(*) to people and society across the world through the pursuit of technology and new challenges," Sony Corporation supports the Sony Group with technology to create the entertainment of the future together with creators. 

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* Both Japanese words, Kando means emotion and Anshin has various meanings such as peace of mind, reassurance, reliability and trust 


About Sony Healthcare ​ 

Healthcare Solutions Europe (HSE) is a leading supplier of medical imaging products in the OR. Our imaging devices include camera technology, surgical monitors, recorders and printers and are found in most hospitals across Europe. Our smart IP based Imaging Platform NUCLeUS offers hospitals a complete digital Integrated Operating Room system. NUCLeUS can transform a hospital’s imaging workflow supporting clinical teams at all stages of planning, performing, recording, editing, and distributing video of surgical procedures. ​ 

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