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GP job satisfaction plummets as rising stress hits morale

By Gareth Iacobucci

GPs are facing spiralling levels of stress at work, with overall job satisfaction plunging since 2005, new research has shown.

The study by the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, examining GPs' working conditions and satisfaction in their job, highlighted a decline in morale after initial improvement following the new GMS contract.

The main factors causing stress among respondents were adverse publicity from the media, long working hours and unrealistically high expectations, while there was an increase in GPs reporting having to work ‘very intensively', and ‘very fast'.

On a seven point scale, overall job satisfaction dropped from 5.2 points in 2005 to 4.6 in 2008, with hours of work and remuneration the main reasons for disquiet.

The survey also reported a significant drop in GPs' satisfaction in relation to recognition for good work and freedom to choose their own method of working.

However, GPs did report having more choice in what to do at work and greater clarity in their responsibilities, compared to responses from 2005.

The report concluded: ‘The findings suggest that GPs' working lives remain improved since the introduction of the new GMS contract, but have drifted below the peak reported one year after the new contract was introduced.

‘Major contributors to the recent reduction in job satisfaction appear to be falling satisfaction with remuneration and hours of work. GPs also expressed the highest-ever levels of stress caused by adverse publicity by the media and changes imposed by Primary Care Trusts.'

GP job satisfaction has fallen signficantly since 2005, researchers found GP job satisfaction has fallen signficantly since 2005, researchers found

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