GPs become more negative about their career prospects as they get older, according to a new study published in the BJGP.
The responses to a questionnaire, filled in by 20,940 respondents (66.2% of whom were GPs), showed that GPs were positive about their career prospects, but this decreased with time since graduation. This trend was not seen in hospital doctors.
The researchers from the University of Oxford found that three to five years after graduation, 86.3% of GP trainees were positive about their career prospects (compared to 52.9% of surgical trainees.
But 12-24 years after graduation, only 60.2% of GPs were positive about their career prospects (compared to 76.6% of surgeons).
According to the authors ‘these changes were more noticeable among male GPs than among female GPs.’
Overall for all age groups, GPs were less positive about their career prospects than hospital doctors: 66.2% of GPs felt positive about their career prospects, compared to 74.2% of hospital doctors.
Female GPs were more positive about their career prospects than male GPs, which was the opposite for hospital doctors.
The questionnaire was sent to doctors graduating in selected years between 1974 and 2008. For the question on career prospects, respondents were asked to rate their agreement with the statement ‘My career prospects are good’.
This comes amid increasing difficulty retaining older GPs, with pensions, burnout and overwork key reasons why many GPs are retiring earlier, although NHS England has boosted funding to the GP retainer scheme to try and reduce this issue.