Recruitment to general practice has had periods of difficulty, but is currently going through a phase of relative popularity in the UK.
To explore motivators for career choice and career satisfaction among UK GP trainees and newly qualified GPs.
Design and setting
Cross-sectional web-based questionnaire of GP trainees and GPs within the first 5 years of qualification in the UK.
All 9557 UK GP trainees and 8013 GPs who were within the first 5 years of qualification were invited to participate by email. Further publicity was conducted via general practice publications and the internet.
Overall, there were 2178 responses to the questionnaire (12.4% response rate, 61.5% women, 61.8% trainees). Levels of satisfaction were high, with 83% of responders stating that they would choose to be a doctor again; of these, 95% would choose to be a GP again. The most frequently cited reason for choosing general practice was ‘compatibility with family life’, which was chosen by 76.6% of women and 63.2% of men (P<0.001). Other reasons given were: ‘challenging medically diverse discipline’ (women 59.8%, men 61.8%, P = 0.350), ‘the one-to-one care general practice offers’ (women 40.0%, men 41.2%, P = 0.570), ‘holistic approach’ (women 41.4%, men 30.1%, P<0.001), ‘autonomy and independence’ (women 18.0%, men 34.8%, P<0.001), ‘communication’ (women 20.6%, men 12.2%, P<0.001), ‘negative experiences in hospital’ (women 12.8%, men 9.8%, P= 0.036), and ‘good salary’ (women 7.8%, men 14.9%, P<0.001).
The most important reason for both women and men choosing general practice as a career in the UK is its compatibility with family life. As such, changes to UK primary care that decrease family compatibility could negatively impact on recruitment.