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Br J Gen Pract. 2011 Oct;61(591):e645-9. doi: 10.3399/bjgp11X601352.

Motivation and satisfaction in GP training: a UK cross-sectional survey.

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  • 1Academic Unit of Primary Health Care, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.



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.


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.

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