Soaring GP workload has left morale in tatters, BMA poll shows

Three quarters of GPs say their workload is unmanageable or unsustainable, according to a snapshot BMA poll that shows the profession's morale is lower than that of any other branch of medical practice.

Stress: GPs report heavy workload and low morale (Photo: JH Lancy)
Stress: GPs report heavy workload and low morale (Photo: JH Lancy)

The BMA’s quarterly tracker survey of the medical profession found that 72.8% of GPs felt their workload was unmanageable or unsustainable.

This was almost double the rate among the second most likely group of doctors to feel this way about their work - 40% of consultants felt their workload was unmanageable or unsustainable.

GP morale was also lower than that of any other group of doctors.

GP morale lowest

Around 40% of all doctors reported low or very low morale. GP morale was lower than any other group, scoring 2.38 on average on a scale of one (low morale) to five (high morale).

GPs were also least satisfied with their work-life balance, scoring just 4.2 on average on a scale from nought (low satisfaction) to 10 (high satisfaction), compared with an average of 5.4 for consultants.

More than half of GPs (55%) reported always working outside of normal hours in the past month – a higher proportion than for any other branch of practice.

More than a quarter of GPs were concerned about their job security.

Early retirement fears

GPs were also the group most likely to consider retiring early, the poll found, with 44% considering quitting the profession before retirement age.

Writing for GPonline, GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey warned that GPs were unable to cope with the current pressures on the health service.

‘If morale continues to drop and more GPs consider leaving the profession – it’s been reported that nearly 5,000 GPs a year may be leaving the UK to work abroad – the delivery of effective GP services will be threatened as there will be too few GPs to meet the needs of the patients walking through the surgery door,’ Dr Vautrey wrote.

Viewpoint: Dr Richard Vautrey demands investment to save general practice

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