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BMA cohort doctor study

The BMA cohort study of 2006 medical graduates is a 10 year longitudinal study of the career paths of 430 doctors.

This year is the tenth and final survey round and provides information on the experiences of cohort doctors who are mostly progressing through specialty training or working as qualified GPs. The report provides insights into career choice and working environments.

The questionnaire also includes a number of new questions, some looking back over the entire study period and some looking to the future.

A longitudinal analysis of the entire 10 year data will be published in 2017.


Key findings

Here are some of the key findings of the tenth edition of the cohort study:

  • 42% of doctors indicated that their current experience as a doctor was worse than they expected when they graduated
  • 42% of doctors plan to practise overseas, a slight increase on previous years, with 10% having applied for a certificate of good standing with a view to working abroad. Compared to previous points in their careers, the majority stated that they are now more likely to consider working overseas or leaving medicine, but are less likely to consider changing their specialty
  • The proportion of doctors stating that their current levels of morale are worse than each previous point in time (foundation training, speciality training, one year ago) is consistently greater than the proportion who state that it is now better
  • There has been an increase in the proportion of doctors who took a break from medicine
  • The majority reported at least a strong desire to practise medicine, but there continues to be a decline in the number of doctors reporting a very strong desire to practise medicine
  • The biggest causes of stress were work-life balance responsibilities, a shortage of doctors and high levels of paperwork
  • The past four surveys have seen a deterioration in perceptions of working atmosphere, working conditions, pace and intensity of work and complexity of work.

Download the full report


Previous reports

All the previous cohort study reports are available in the BMA Library archive.

View a list of previous reports