Study points to factors behind GP crisis

A new study by health services researchers at the University shows that positive feedback from patients and colleagues is more important to GPs than factors such as income.

Attracting clinicians to careers in general practice and retaining them has become a major problem for the NHS.

To try and establish the factors behind this, Dr Catherine Marchand and Professor Stephen Peckham, of the University’s Centre for Health Services Studies, reviewed relevant literature published in a number of English-speaking countries with similar health systems to the NHS.

They found that early exposure to primary care and experience in primary care settings, plus the fit between the skills and attributes of the doctor and the job, to be most important to recruitment.

Factors influencing retention included the opportunities for sub-specialisation and portfolio careers, as well as job satisfaction. In fact, the strongest determinants of retention were factors such as recognition and appreciation by patients and colleagues, rather than ‘extrinsic’ factors such as income.

The study was published by the Royal College of General Practitioners, which said of it ‘There are messages here that may help us address our current recruitment and retention crisis’. The paper is published in the British Journal of General Practice.