UK GPs are the Most Stressed and Least Satisfied
Working as a GP in the UK has become increasingly challenging, leading to high levels of work related stress and low job satisfaction. A recent Health Foundation report compared GPs in the UK to those in nine other high-income countries and revealed that UK GPs faces the highest stress levels and the lowest job satisfaction. This is a stark contrast to a decade ago when UK GPs were among the most satisfied in the world. So, what has changed in such a short period?
The report analysed data from a survey of 9,526 GPs across ten high-income countries, including France, Germany, Sweden, and Australia. Out of these, 1,010 were based in the UK. The findings indicate that UK GPs are grappling with heavier workloads since the onset of the pandemic, resulting in heightened stress levels and emotional strain that were absent ten years ago. Alarmingly, many UK GPs are contemplating leaving the profession altogether. Only 24% of GPs in the UK reported being extremely or very satisfied with their medical practice, significantly lower than all the other countries surveyed.
What has contributed to the rise in work related stress?
Undoubtedly, the pandemic has exacerbated these challenges, with GPs from all nations feeling the increased strain. All parties acknowledge that patient care has suffered due to the overwhelming pressures caused by the pandemic. However, UK GPs specifically points to workload, limited time with patients, and an imbalanced work-life equation as the root causes of their dissatisfaction. More than half of them believe that the quality of care they can provide has been steadily declining, with only 14% perceiving any improvement.
This disheartening situation coincides with a shortage of GPs in the UK. Since 2015, the number of fully qualified, full-time GPs has been declining, and it is estimated that GP shortages will nearly double by 2031. This not only presents a bleak future for those currently practicing but also demands that the government’s recovery plan addresses the challenges outlined in the report to ensure a sustainable future for general practice in the country.
However, amidst these concerns, the survey did highlight some positive aspects of UK GPs’ performance. A significant proportion of UK GPs expressed confidence in managing care and treatment plans for patients with long-term health conditions and mental health needs. They outperformed their counterparts from other countries in managing dementia care needs and palliative care, as well as excelling in providing access to online services and utilising electronic medical records.
If you are a GP looking to improve your work related stress, there are steps you can take. While the decision-makers formulate their action plan, here are some suggestions:
- Prioritise exceptional patient care: Despite the mounting administrative tasks, focusing on delivering high-quality patient care should be your primary goal.
- Seek support: Partnering with Medical Staffing can help alleviate the workload burden by providing administrative assistance, managing bookings, and ensuring compliance. Whether you work as a GP or seek a permanent position, their services can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance. With access to tailored GP jobs and ongoing support, they prioritise your well-being and career goals.
- Connect with peers: Engage with other GPs to share experiences, challenges, and coping strategies. Peer support can provide valuable insights and a sense of community.
- Enhance time management skills: Develop effective strategies for managing your time and prioritising tasks. Efficient time management can help alleviate stress and improve job satisfaction.
- Emphasise self-care: Take care of your physical and mental well-being by practicing self-care. Find time for activities that rejuvenate you, such as exercise, hobbies, or spending time with loved ones.
In summary, the current state of job satisfaction among UK GPs is concerning. However, by focusing on patient care, seeking support, connecting with peers, improving time management skills, and prioritising self-care, you can take steps to improve your own job satisfaction. Remember, your well-being is essential for providing the best care to your patients.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need assistance in managing your workload and finding the right opportunities, consider partnering with Key Medical Staffing. We offer comprehensive support, tailored GP assignments, and a dedicated team that cares about your well-being and career goals. Take the first step towards improving your job satisfaction today by reaching out to their friendly team for more information. Together, we can work towards a more fulfilling and sustainable future for UK GPs.
For more resources and support on managing work-related stress, I highly recommend visiting the NHS website’s dedicated section on stress management here, where you can find valuable information and guidance to help you on your journey towards a healthier work-life balance.