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GPs are ‘happier than hospital doctors’

By Yvette Martyn

GPs are more positive about their working conditions compared with their colleagues working in hospital, a UK survey has found.

The study surveyed 2,521 doctors who qualified from UK medical schools in 1988 on topics concerning their job satisfaction. Of the 69% of doctors who responded: 60% of GP's were satisfied with their working conditions compared to just 37% of hospital doctors.

A greater number of GPs worked part-time - compared with hospital doctors - and the profession as a whole was more satisfied with the time they had for activities outside of work; GP's scored 6 and hospital practitioners 4.9 on a scale of 1 (very low satisfaction) to 10 (very high).

The study published in the latest issue of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine found GPs had a similar level of job satisfaction compared with hospital practitioners, on a scale of 5 (very low satisfaction) to 25 (very high satisfaction), hospital doctors rated 20.1 whilst GP's scored 19.6.

But specific aspects, such as the management support available were scored highly by GPs. Nearly a third of hospital doctors thought management support was good compared to 59% of GPs.

Lead author of the study, Kathryn Taylor, research officer at the UK Medical Careers Research Group, University of Oxford, said: 'The great majority of doctors in this cohort were practicing medicine…there was a high level of job satisfaction and of satisfaction with their career opportunities so far, but they were less positive about some other aspects of their jobs.'

J R Soc Med 2010; 103: 21-30

GPs are 'happier than other doctors'