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Fam Pract. 1998 Feb;15(1):58-66.

Mixed feelings: satisfaction and disillusionment among Australian GPs.

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National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra.



Medical practitioners' satisfaction with their work impacts on quality of care for their patients and on their own sense of fulfillment. Reforms introduced in the early 1990s into Australian general practice have led to concerns over the morale of GPs. This study examines satisfaction and dissatisfaction of GPs with regard to the reform strategy.


GPs throughout Australia were approached via a popular GP magazine to express their views in a questionnaire comprising closed-end and open-ended questions enquiring about satisfaction with their current role and sources of satisfaction (and dissatisfaction) of working in general practice. Factor analysis was used to identify different sources of satisfaction (and dissatisfaction), which were intercorrelated and which together represented underlying factors. Logistic regression modelling was used to determine which sources were most strongly associated with being satisfied (or not satisfied), and to explore GP characteristics associated with satisfaction.


A total of 2186 questionnaires were returned, representing the opinions of 14-18% of Australian GPs. Two-thirds (68%) of respondents reported being satisfied, most frequently with the variety of work and establishing relationships with patients and their families. Six satisfaction factors were identified on factor analysis, the most important characterizing social and interpersonal roles. Leading sources of dissatisfaction related to perceived interference by the government. Six dissatisfaction factors were identified on factor analysis, the most important characterizing governmental issues. However, on logistic regression other sources of dissatisfaction (reflecting disillusionment) were most strongly associated with not being satisfied.


The main sources of satisfaction are those which typify the long-term caring role of the community GP. While the reform strategy aimed to address problems with the organization and financing of general practice, the resulting intervention is the focus of dissatisfaction. Among dissatisfied GPs these attitudes may arise primarily from a sense of disillusionment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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