Just 1 in 4 UK GPs are satisfied with time they are able to spend with patients – appointment times are among the shortest of 11 countries surveyed.
A report published today by the Health Foundation paints a picture of high stress and low satisfaction with workload among UK GPs. The report is an analysis of an international survey of GPs from 11 high-income countries, including 1,001 UK GPs, undertaken by the Commonwealth Fund in 2019.
Among 11 high-income countries included in the study, only France has lower levels of overall satisfaction with practising medicine, and only Sweden reported higher levels of stress. Over half of UK GPs (60%) say they find their job 'extremely' or 'very' stressful, and almost half (49%) plan to reduce their weekly hours in the next three years.
UK GPs also reported significantly shorter appointment lengths than their international colleagues. The average length of a GP appointment in the UK is 11 minutes, compared with a 19 minute average appointment for GP and primary care physicians in the other countries surveyed.
Dr Rebecca Fisher, one of the Health Foundation report's authors and a practising GP, says: "These findings illustrate the pressures faced by general practice, and the strain that GPs are under. Right now the health system is in unprecedented territory and mobilising to meet the challenge of Covid-19. This survey shows that over the long term we need concerted action to stabilise general practice. Despite performing strongly in some aspects of care, many GPs consider that appointments are simply too short to fully meet the needs of patients. Too many GPs are highly stressed and overburdened – to the point of wanting to leave the profession altogether."
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Source: The Health Foundation, 5 March 2020