University of Manchester: A third of GPs plan to quit within five years, finds survey

Around 33% of GPs are likely to quit direct patient care within five years, according to the elevenths GP Worklife Survey by University of Manchester researchers.

In GPs over 50 the figure was 61%; among GPs under 50, one in every six (16%) said they were planning to leave.

The average level of overall job satisfaction, measured between 1 (extremely dissatisfied) and 7 (extremely satisfied), decreased by 0.2 points from 4.5 in 2019 to 4.3 in 2021

However, over half of respondents (51%) said they were satisfied with their job overall.

Decreased satisfaction was particularly acute around the areas of ‘recognition for good work’ and ‘satisfaction with variety of job’.

Overall, hours of work showed a slight decline for the second consecutive survey, falling from 40 hours per week in 2019 to 38.4 hours per week in 2021.

The GP Worklife Survey has been assessing job satisfaction and job stressors amongst GPs in England since 1999.

Participating GPs are asked to complete a questionnaire which asks them to rate their job satisfaction and the aspects of their jobs which they find particularly stressful or satisfying, as well as their intentions as regards their future work.


The fact that 16% of GPs under the age of 50 are thinking about leaving their jobs is worrying, and suggests that work is still needed to ensure that general practice is sustainable for the long term


Professor Kath Checkland

The survey has run approximately every two years since 1999, and so provides evidence about changes over time.

The evidence it provides is used by the Department of Health and Social Care to inform their evidence to the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Pay Review Body.

The survey was run for the 11th time in 2021. It reports on responses from 2,227 GPs from across the country.

The survey, carried out by the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Systems and Commissioning, has run approximately every two years since 1999, and so provides evidence about changes over time.

Professor Kath Checkland, who led the study said: ‘We’re very grateful to the GPs who took time out to respond to our survey during this difficult year.

“It is not really surprising that job satisfaction has dropped amongst GPs during the pandemic, but the survey provides some evidence about the areas of work they are finding more stressful, which may help in designing ways to support them.

“The fact that 16% of GPs under the age of 50 are thinking about leaving their jobs is worrying, and suggests that work is still needed to ensure that general practice is sustainable for the long term.”

The Eleventh National GP Worklife Survey was carried out by the Health Organisation, Policy and Economics (HOPE) research group at The University of Manchester on behalf of the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Systems and Commissioning (PRUComm). PRUComm is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care Policy Research Programme.

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